New Jersey's approach to managing children's healthcare post-divorce

Understanding New Jersey's Approach to Children's Healthcare After Divorce

In the aftermath of a divorce, the well-being of any children involved is a primary concern. New Jersey has specific guidelines and protocols in place to ensure that children's healthcare needs continue to be met even when their parents' marriage has dissolved. This article delves into the state's approach to managing children's healthcare post-divorce, highlighting legal frameworks, responsibilities of divorced parents, and the roles of the courts.

Legal Framework Governing Children's Healthcare in New Jersey

New Jersey family law courts are tasked with making decisions that serve the best interests of the child, and this extends to healthcare. Under New Jersey law, both parents are generally expected to contribute to their child’s healthcare costs. This includes routine check-ups, emergency care, and ongoing medical treatments.

Health Insurance and Divorce Decrees

Typically, the divorce decree or settlement agreement will specify which parent is responsible for providing health insurance for the child. The cost of health insurance is factored into child support calculations. If one parent maintains a health insurance policy through work that covers the child, the other parent may be required to contribute to the cost of that insurance.

Uncovered Medical Expenses

Beyond insurance premiums, there are often additional out-of-pocket medical expenses. New Jersey law mandates that these costs should be shared by both parents. The division could be equal or based on each parent's income ratio.

Dispute Resolution and Court Intervention

In cases where parents cannot agree on healthcare-related decisions for their child, they may turn to mediation or ultimately seek a court ruling. Courts can order one parent to maintain health insurance or cover certain medical expenses when an agreement cannot be reached.

Historical Cases and Precedents

Historical cases in New Jersey have set precedents for current practices. For instance, in Riccio v. Riccio, the court emphasized the importance of maintaining life insurance for the benefit of the child, serving as a protective measure for future healthcare needs.


New Jersey takes a comprehensive approach to ensure that children are not left without adequate healthcare following their parents' divorce. By mandating both parents' involvement in healthcare decisions and costs, the state upholds the principle that a child’s well-being is paramount.