Monday, May 18, 2015

How Do I Pay For Medical Expenses For My Child That I've Never Seen Before?

This morning’s trial confronted one of my favorite conundrums that people seem to create: how to make someone pay for expenses they don’t know about? In this case, it was a Family Court proceeding where the Petitioner was requesting reimbursement for medical expenses incurred by the parties’ child. Seems straightforward enough, right? There’s a court order that tells the parties how much they are responsible for, the child has been to the doctor a few times in the last 18 months, so the math shouldn’t require a genius.

But then comes one of my favorite tricks in the book: the Petitioner had not told my client about the expenses. Included in the expenses were trips to the emergency room (which he was similarly never told about). However, we’re in court because he failed to pay expenses that he never knew about. Our judge seemed a little less than pleased.

So now that we got to the bottom of the magic, the next question to answer was… how would my client know to pay expenses he didn’t know about? Well, that’s simple (says the Petitioner), he knows now because she filed a case against him with the Court. So, the judge and I open our workbooks to the documents that had been filed with the court and we see yet another look of displeasure from the court.

When we review the documents and exhibits from the Petitioner, there aren’t any medical expenses listed. Maybe the Petitioner brought them with the files to trial today? Nope. Now the judge is left to figure out how to make my client pay for expenses that haven’t been seen by the court or the client.

Pure magic is needed to get to the bottom of that one. But since we didn’t have any of that today, our trial is adjourned and we’ll reconvene in the future when hopefully, from somewhere, these magical medical expenses will appear.

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