Many people do not realize that in Virginia, a court can order either parent to pay the “reasonable and necessary unpaid expenses of the mother’s pregnancy and delivery or equitably apportion the unpaid expenses between the parties,” per Virginia Code § 20-49.8. The court typically apportions such expenses between the parties based on income.
To obtain an order for pregnancy and delivery expenses, the request must be filed with the court within six months of the child’s birth. The request can be included in any applicable petition for child support. After the six-month mark, the court no longer has jurisdiction to award pregnancy and delivery expenses, so time is of the essence to receive this kind of financial assistance.
Currently, House Bill No. 2290 is pending before the Virginia General Assembly, which would dramatically change this statute. The relevant changes would mandate that the court order the following, absent good cause shown:
- That a father pay a minimum of 50% of the mother’s pregnancy and delivery expenses;
- That a father pay a minimum of 50% of the mother’s paid maternity leave; and
- That a father pay child support from the date of conception pursuant to the child support guidelines outlined in Virginia Code § 20-108.2.
These changes would mean that pregnancy and delivery expenses would no longer be apportioned based on income, and instead a father would be statutorily required to pay a minimum of 50%. Items (2) and (3) would create entirely new rights that do not presently exist.
We will be keeping an eye on the General Assembly and whether any of these dramatic proposed changes becomes law.
In the meantime, if you have questions regarding pregnancy and delivery expenses, child support, or any similar issues related to minor children, be sure to discuss them with an experienced family law attorney in your jurisdiction. Livesay & Myers, P.C. has a team of experienced family lawyers across five office locations in Northern Virginia. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.