My Ex Won't Pay for Braces; What Should I Do?

When you divorce, you almost always split medical costs. (For more on how this works, read here.)

That seems pretty easy, right? Usually, yes, but, as with everything in divorce, there are complications. And for whatever reason, braces are one of those complications.

I can't tell you how many times we've had a client call us and say, "My son/daughter needs braces, but [enter soon-to-be ex's/ex's name here] said he won't pay for it." The reason is almost always that braces aren't necessary. (This, of course, makes no sense. No one gets kids $4000 braces for non-essential reasons.)

Here's how we tell our clients to deal with this situation (it's worked every time we've had to go to court, so it has a pretty good track record):

Go to your orthodontist and get a letter stating the braces are medically necessary. Every orthodontist on earth will give you that letter, so it shouldn't be a difficult task.

Once you get the letter, give it to your soon-to-be-ex/ex. They almost always start paying their half at this point.

Sometimes, a parent will say orthodontia is not a medical expense and refuse to pay. This kind of makes sense, but every time we've encountered it in court, judges and commissioners reject it. 

Last Piece of Advice

If you know you're going to get resistance on the braces, go get the letter right up front. That should help minimize conflict.

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