What can we do if an ex refuses to pay for a medical bill our children? Posted on February 04, 2011

My wife, who is now 34, had a daughter at age 19. Her and the father (they were never married), went to a mediator at the time and had custody arrangements drawn up. In that arrangement, not one thing was mentioned about child support, health insurance, etc., only custody. They have had a "verbal agreement" since the birth of their daughter to split any medical costs not covered by insurance, 50/50. In addition, my wife has carried their daughter on her insurance since day one, he has never provided health insurance coverage. Since I have been married to my wife, her and her daughter's father have split copays, etc 50/50 with no problem, even just a couple of weeks ago he gave her $12.50 for a $25 copayment. However, now we have received a $700 bill from an orthodontist and he is refusing to pay it. The bill is from a nearly 2 year old charge. The initial amount billed by the orthodontist was about $1000. Of that, my wife and the father had split and paid $500 each. Now, 2 years later, the orthodontist is billing $700, saying they had been billing the insurance this entire time, and the insurance had repeatedly denied, so now they are billing us. Since the health insurance is in my wife's name, she is getting the bill. The father is not getting any bills, nor is he on file with the orthodontists office. My wife has repeatedly attempted to contact him and work out them paying 50/50 as they have all 15 years of their daughter's life, but he is refusing to pay, cussing my wife out, and now ignoring her completely (not returning phone calls/text messages). Are we just "screwed" here? Are we going to have to pay the entire bill here? Is there any way we can "make" him pay his 50%? Can we go to small claims court and have the court make him pay his 50%, or is small claims something we would have to pursue after we paid it all?

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