“Extraordinary” and “Ordinary” Medical Expenses: What’s the difference?

If you have been to Court for allocation of parental responsibilities or divorce, you may see in your judgment a provision governing how out of pocket medical expenses will be handled. Sometimes one party pays all of the out of pocket medical expenses up to a cap amount. In other situations, one party may take care of co-pays, but everything else that isn’t covered by insurance is divided by some percentage. And, in some judgments, there is a difference between what is considered an “ordinary” and an “extraordinary” medical expense. How do we know what is considered “ordinary” and what is considered “extraordinary”?

Usually, the judgment will definte what constitutes “ordinary” and what constitutes “extraordinary”. However, if there is no definition, it can be burdensome for the parties to try and decipher which expense constitutes which, because a party’s responsibility for reimbursement may be dependent upon what type it is. Extraordinary, in most scenarios, means anything above and beyond regular, routine health care. In my experience, extraordinary medical expenses have constituted mental health care or therapy, braces, and elective procedures. However, it is best to look at your judgment and see how this term is defined, rather than leaving it up to the Judge to interpret it in post-decree litigation.

Leave a Reply