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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Support – Medical Insurance – ‘Other’ Sources

Reams v. Riggan (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-07-1162, 20 pp.) (Linda M. McGee, J.) (Cheri Beasley, J., concurring in part & dissenting in part) Appealed from Vance County District Court (J. Henry Banks, J.) N.C. App.

Holding: The N.C. Child Support Guidelines state, “Health insurance is considered reasonable in cost if it is employment related or other group health insurance, regardless of delivery mechanism.” The trial court’s custody order does not violate G.S. § 50-13.4(c1) merely because the trial court ordered the defendant-father to buy health insurance for the parties’ child when the father did not have access to employment-related health insurance.

We affirm the trial court’s order granting primary custody to the plaintiff-mother and ordering the defendant-father to provide child support.

We interpret the Guidelines sentence quoted above as stating that, if a parent has access to employment-related or other group health insurance, this insurance will be considered “reasonably-priced” as a matter of law. This does not preclude the trial court from determining that some other health insurance is also reasonably priced.

Because we hold that the trial court did not vary from the guidelines by ordering defendant to obtain health insurance for the child even though he did not have employer-funded health insurance, we also hold that the trial court did not violate G.S. § 50-13.4(c) by failing to make specific findings of fact on this matter.

Defendant failed to properly present for our review the other issues considered by the dissent.



(Beasley, J.) The trial court has no authority to make an order for the provision of health insurance unless it first finds that it is available at a reasonable cost. There is no evidence in the record that medical insurance is available at a reasonable cost to defendant.

In addition, the trial court failed to apply the same formula when calculating the parties’ monthly incomes from their weekly wages.

I would reverse and remand for further findings.


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