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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court holds post-secondary educational orders may include medical expenses for the student

In Michael M. Cubel v. Debra A. Cubel, a 5-page, 5-0 opinion, Chief Justice Shepard writes:

The legislature has authorized trial courts to enter orders providing parental assistance for college students, and it has indicated that such orders may extend beyond age twenty-one, the general cut-off for child support obligations. Appellant Michael Cubel argues that such post-secondary educational orders may not include medical expenses for the student. We hold that the Indiana Code authorizes orders covering these expenses. * * *

In this case, we are asked to determine whether the General Assembly intended the child support statutes to include insurance coverage for children during college, in accordance with the Schueneman holding, or whether it did not intend to provide for a child’s health care costs beyond age twenty-one regardless of whether the child is attending college, in accordance with the Sebastian holding. * * *

To the extent there is a conflict in the case law, we hold that a post-secondary educational order may include medical, dental, and optical insurance costs, as well as other health care costs, where the court finds such costs appropriate. As with all payments in post-secondary educational orders, payment of insurance and health care costs must be contingent upon the child remaining enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution. When fashioning the order, the court must consider the child’s aptitude and ability, the child’s reasonable ability to contribute to such expenses, and the ability of each parent to meet these expenses.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 29, 2007 03:21 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions