We won’t keep you in suspense: it’s not a foregone conclusion in Utah that parents must share the costs of cosmetic orthodontia. Now read on to learn what’s in play when the issue is orthodontia.
When a couple divorces the controlling decree of divorce is required to cover many topics including out of pocket medical and dental expenses. Utah law states in relevant part; The [decree of divorce] shall … include a cash medical support provision that requires each parent to equally share all reasonable and necessary uninsured and un reimbursed medical and dental expenses incurred for the dependent children, including but not limited to deductibles and co payments unless the court finds good cause to order otherwise.Utah Code § 78B-12-212(6)(2013).Despite this code provision requiring the parties to share all reasonable and necessary uninsured medical and dental expenses incurred for minor children, this question remains: what is reasonable and necessary? There can be no reasonable argument that orthodontia expenses needed to prevent/relieve pain or to address a health or safety issue should be divided equally between the parents. But a question arises when a child doesn’t have a medical/dental necessity for orthodontics and would simply like to have a prettier smile. What then? There is no easy answer.