Roughly 52% of marriages end in divorce, according to 2011 survey statistics published by the National Center for Health Statistics. Almost 40% of children are born to unwed mothers – both those cohabiting with a partner and those who live alone or with other family members.

When you consider these two bits of information, it is no wonder that family law practice professionals – and child custody lawyers – have a steady stream of clients.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that every US citizen must have health insurance in the coming months; however frequent changes affecting administration of the law – at least 28 delays or modifications so far – make child support negotiations more complex today than a few years ago.

Uncertainty and confusion make it crucial for parents and caregivers to consult a family law attorney to make sure they follow the letter of the law and protect the needs of the child.

Recommendations for Parents From HHS

The Department of Health and Human Services strongly recommends that states coordinate all service departments, including electronic mechanisms to monitor and enforce child custody and support orders. This means reviewing child support orders with child custody lawyers for compliance and compatibility. Some experts suggest that 90% of children may qualify for government issued health insurance, potentially eliminating medical support orders in the future. The department recommends a review of any existing orders against new regulations to avoid conflicts and ensure compliance. It is hard to say at this point if support order modifications will ultimately be easier or more difficult for parents.

What's new for Custodial and Non-Custodial Parents

The burden of making sure that children have insurance is the sole responsibility of the parent that claims a child as a dependent (for tax purposes), according to the law, even if a standing court order assigns responsibility to the other parent. Legal obligations could change for both custodial and non-custodial parents under the law.

Communication is paramount to modifying orders in response to the new laws. There are new options available for parents, including child-only policies and adding older children as dependents to employer-sponsored plans. Since children are eligible for dependent coverage up to the age of 26, some states may extend child support orders beyond the current guidelines that stop between the ages of 18 to 21 in most states.

What Role Do Child Custody Attorneys Play?

The role of family law attorneys at is growing. Going forward, the separation of child custody and child support orders may be more clearly defined since the ACA separates these two areas of responsibility even further than existing state law. Overcoming obstacles associated with understanding the benefits and obligations could several years, but it is time for everyone to make an effort to get on the same page.