Can you ask your ex to help pay for your child’s braces?
The child support that you get probably only covers a small amount of the costs that you incur every month while taking care of your kids. While getting some support from your ex is better than getting no support at all, it can feel very frustrating to have to scrape by while your ex only contributes a tiny fraction of your children’s needs.
When the courts set a child support amount, they look at the family’s needs and the income of both parents as well. If your circumstances change in a way that reduces your income or drastically increases your expenses, you could go to the court to ask for a modification of child support. Will your child’s need for braces justify seeking a modification?
Orthodontia for growing children is not cheap
Depending on the nature of your child’s oral health issues, the average cost of braces could be anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. If there are extensive issues that require extra intervention may have to pay $10,000 or more to straighten their teeth and maximize their oral health.
Generally speaking, the courts will not award additional child support for expenses that they consider frivolous or optional. However, many times orthodontic care doesn’t just affect someone’s appearance but also their overall health. If your child’s orthodontic issues are serious enough, you may be able to claim medical necessity.
It is also possible that you could make an argument for the necessity of cosmetic braces because of the potential negative psychological consequences of teasing and social isolation at older ages due to appearance. In some cases, your ex might even agree that the braces are necessary and offer to chip in their fair share. Other times, going to the court to ask for a modification will be the best way for you to give your children the support and services they need for a healthy life and a positive self-image.