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Braces? Who pays?

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My 13 year old daughter has slightly bucked teeth .

The other parent ( who has 100% care) has taken her to an orthodontist, the cost of the braces will be $6000 with an upfront payment of  $2100 paid on the day that they are applied and then $150 per month/ paid over 28 months. The other parent believes private health insurance will cover some of the costs but hasn't advised me by how much.

The other parent has asked if I can contribute.

Currently I am paying 92 % of the cost of the child which equals $250/ wk. I am currently waiting for the result of a CSA objection which would hopefully result in a decrease in payments.

As for the braces, I believe that the main reason for them would be cosmetic however the orthodontist has yet to reply to my requests to talk to him ( I wish to find out , the total costs involved and whether they are cosmetic or medical in purpose).

The other parent is pressuring me to come to a monetary arrangement, but I don't wish to liase with her.

I have three questions:
1.What right does the other parent/ CSA have to asking me to pay for the braces?
2.Am I entitled to find out information about my child's health care from a health professional ( even if I don't have 100% care) or does
the other parent need to give permission?
3. Could it adversely affect me if I have not wished to liase with the other parent?
1) You are responsible for maintaining your children and whether the costs are to be covered by your current child support liability or not is debatable. She could take you through a reason 8 COA as well as the other reason  special needs and if C$A can see you can afford the braces and the ex can't, then they will make you pay. At age 13 Family Benefits increase about $50 per fortnight so this might go in your favour.

2) Unless there is an order saying you do not have parental responsibility or you cannot contact third parties re your daughter then are perfectly within your rights to make enquiries.

3) Yes for the above reason - maybe see if she will go 50/50 or something for the braces.

Last edit: by Fairgo

Thanks Fairgo,
My belief was if the braces were for a medical purpose then the other parent could claim "special needs" but if the braces were for a cosmetic purpose then I do not necessary need to make a monetary contribution under "special needs"
A child with bucked teeth may have more than a cosmetic need for braces, and so the braces may fall under the umbrella of "special needs".  The CSA will request a letter from the orthodondist outlining the need for the braces.  
April- that's what I wished to find out from the
Orthodontist, then I could possibly suggest a payment arrangement to help out with costs if is deemed a medical purpose.

At present I am struggling to pay $250/ wk due to adverse finacial circumstances so am unlikely to agree to any extra payment until a result is obtained from my CSA COA objection.
If you don't wish to make a payment towards the braces and you don't want to liase with mum then just tell her you don't wish to discuss/contribute and just wait for her to do a COA for special needs.  You can then discuss it with CSA and let them know the situation is compounded by your current objection.  If your ex has health insurance benefits that can be applied to the braces that will be taken into consideration as well to reduce the overall liability.
Thanks April- at present I'm not in a position to say how much I can contribute until the objection result is in ( will be received next week).

I'm of the opinion that $800 per year will likely be covered by insurance bringing the total made payable per week to approx $20- I believe of needed I would contribute the extra $20  
I think you will find that it wont matter what the professional reason is for the braces. They will always say that if the teeth are not right now they will cause further trouble later on. In any case do you want her to have a perfect smile or not?
Fairgo said
I think you will find that it wont matter what the professional reason is for the braces. They will always say that if the teeth are not right now they will cause further trouble later on. In any case do you want her to have a perfect smile or not?
That's not quite right. Both of my children had braces for cosmetic reasons at their mother's instigation. She and I paid half each, but that was after I checked with the CSA who informed me that there was no obligation for me to pay if she chose to have it done. Until then she had been talking about getting yet another COA done, so presumably they told her the same thing.

Orthodontc work is only an essential issue if the child has a severe over- or under-bite, or if their teeth are in serious "snaggled" condition such that they may have trouble cleaning them properly or there may be issues with later tooth eruptions impacting on existing teeth. These things can be determined quite readily by X-ray,which is a standard part of any orthodontic process.

A perfect smile is lovely to see (I wish I had one,but let's face it, without serious surgery it'd be wasted in this face :lol:) and Dad may be all for paying for it, but Mum can't shirk her own responsibility.
Thanks Craigo,

Your opinion is what I had though- my daughters teeth are straight she has a slight overbite ( due to teeth being slightly bucked) I believe that the orthodontist would find it hard to prove medical reasons for orthodontic treatment.

I still would wish to contribute, however I don't want to be pressured into paying more than I can afford ( i believe the other parent would wish me to pay 92% - 100% of the cost).

I believe there is also no urgency for having braces at 13 compared to later teens/ adult ( I had braces myself at 17 years).

And I also can't understand why the other parent hasn't sort orthodontic waiting lists as her and the child would be entitled .
Craigo - I think you have given a fair assessment of the issue but I have spoken to Orthodontists and they do say that teeth even if not that bad will cause trouble in later years if not straightened.

I've seen kids go through the process many times and although I dislike the peer pressure around having perfect smiles, they do look good and if you love your child then there is little question in what to do.

Graeme70 let us know how you get on with the C$A and ex.
I have a question does it depend on who has the health insurance.   Lets say the cost is $6000 and my insurance covers $2500 dollars leaving a $3500 gap, what is a fair amount to pay.  

Lets assume its 50/50 would I be required to pay only an additional $500  as my share and the other parent with no insurance pays $3000 of would the 50/50 be only for the gap  i.e.  each parent pay $1750 plus the $2500 from the insurance.    What would happen if it went to the the C$A during a COA?
Fairgo- I agree but the amount I am paying in child support should meet the costs of also paying for the braces ($250/ wk- which goes up to $330 from June )

I'd be prepared to offer $10 -20 extra wk over 28 months which equates to $1120/ $2240 but the other parent is also failing to disclose amount covered by private health insurance.
Yes you are correct - the costs should be met with the child support already paid.

One principle behind the COA process that works against the payer is if the payee is living a lifestyle that is less that the payer. How do you fare in this department?
I have a house with no equity and major debts, and minimal savings although my income is currently under re- assessment was $110k but due to adverse business conditions now $60k, I am self employed

She has a house with 75% equity- pool/spa, $11k in savings and works part time 22 hrs on $30k year .
If your income has dropped have you notified C$A?

If she has debts and low income and you have no debts and at lest twice income then I'd say you will lose in a COA process.

I'd work with the ex and try to avoid C$A in this issue.
Fairgo- you misread I have no equity very minimal savings and large debts ( $300k)

She has minimal debts, (30k max), $270k in house equity and  lower income. And 11k in savings.

Yes. I have applied for COA will get result next week which will hopefully decrease CS payments.

I also have re-partnered and have a child due in Sept- not that it will be considered by CSA, until the hold has been born.
Ok that looks better for you but they would try to get you on your business expenses and earning capacity and suggest that you are really better off than you say.

If you have an undrawn credit card they will say you could use this to pay for the braces. Be careful what info you give them.

Have you put in an estimate re your income change or a coa? (change of assessment application)
CoA- as objected within 2 days of a COA
Sorry mate - what have you done?

Have you applied for a COA or objected to a COA decision?
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