Medical Expenses After Emancipation

by Anonymous from Florida


I have been divorced for quite some time. My children are now over the age of majority, and regular child support payment have not stopped, per the decree. I still carry medical insurance per the agreement for the one child that is still in college.


About two years ago, near when the child support payments were nearing an end, the ex filed a lawsuit against me alleging unpaid medical expenses for the children.

For their medical expenses, when she as the custodial parent made an expenditure for one of the children's benefit, was to send to me, in a timely fashion, a copy of the paid bill.

I would then remit to her payment for half of the bill. After a period of time, she ceased sending medical bills to me to pay. Now, many, many years later she is now suing me for those medical expenses that she claimed she incurred on the children's behalf, but also admitted that she never sent those bill to me.

With the brief description above, how can I be expected to pay these bills now... many years after they were incurred, and not provided in a timely fashion as was mandated by the decree. It has the appearance to me that she simply built up a savings plan to cash in on for when the child support payments ceased due to the children's ages.

Does not seem right or fair ... can she do this and get away with it? The legal fees to fight this are killing me. All of my child support was paid in full and on time.

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Anonymous,

Below is a legal definition of the doctrine of laches from www.lectlaw.com.

The concept of laches is that when a party sits on their rights, and fails to pursue their rights in a timely manner, then they may lose their rights.

Based on the maxim that equity aids the vigilant and not those who procrastinate regarding their rights; Neglect to assert a right or claim that, together with lapse of time and other circumstances, prejudices an adverse party.

Neglecting to do what should or could, have been done to assert a claim or right for an unreasonable and unjustified time causing disadvantage to another.

Laches is similar to 'statute of limitations' except is equitable rather than statutory and is a common affirmative defense raised in civil actions.

Laches is derived from the French 'lecher' and is nearly synonymous with negligence.

In general, when a party has been guilty of laches in enforcing his right by great delay and lapse of time, this circumstance will at common law prejudice and sometimes operate in bar of a remedy which is discretionary for the court to afford. In courts of equity delay will also generally be prejudicial.

But laches may be excused from ignorance of the party's rights; from the obscurity of the transaction; by the pendency of a suit, and; where the party labors under a legal disability, as insanity, infancy and the like.


Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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