Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Medical Expenses: New Case from Indiana's Court of Appeals

I spent too long tonight dealing with holiday parenting time to do justice to Johnny H. Tigner v. Linda Tigner (PDF format). The following describes the main issue:

Research has disclosed no Indiana case specifically addressing whether uninsured medical expenses must be reasonable and necessary before the non-custodial parent is required to contribute and if so, which party has the burden of proof. The trial court allocated the burden of proof to Father as the party contesting payment to prove the expenses were not reasonable or necessary
The Court of Appeals held that this burden of proof was not the one used in tort (negligence) case, but that the burden was on the party asserting the expenses were reasonable or necessary.

I will return to this case at a later date. I can say this much:
  1. Although the parties here operated under a joint custody order, the decision does not turn on the type of custody. Therefore, this opinion applies to all cases where there is an order to pay uninsured medical expenses.
  2. The Court of Appeals remanded for a new hearing but gave a few pages to how the medical expenses had been calculated before.
  3. Lots of footnotes with some of no small length makes the decision a rather odd one for our Court of Appeals. They need looking at.
  4. As I read the case at this hour, the party having physical custody of the child gets the choice of medical treatment and the only protection offered the non-custodial parent lies in making the custodial parent prove the reasonableness and necessity of the particular treatment. I may have an oversimplification in that sentence for joint custody cases and absolutely none for sole custody cases.

No comments: