Divorce and Insurance - Family Law Legal Blogs Posted by Gerard F. Miles - Lawyers.com

There are many issues to consider when a couple divorces, including division of assets, child custody, and alimony. Less often mentioned is insurance of all types. Insurance is almost always a joint expense, but will need to be carried individually after or sometimes even during the divorce. As you go through this stressful period of your life, you do not want to jeopardize something as important as your healthcare insurance. Careful planning can help make sure all your insurance needs are covered.

Health Insurance
If you were previously covered under an employer’s health plan through your spouse, you will have to find a new insurance policy. If you want to continue with your ex-spouse’s health plan, you can do so under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which allows for an extension of up to 36 months for those who have lost coverage due to divorce or other major life change. You will likely have to pay the premium on your own to continue the health plan.

Life Insurance and Disability Insurance
If you have a life insurance policy with your ex-spouse named as beneficiary, your financial situation must be considered. If you have been ordered to pay alimony and/or child support to your ex and he or she is dependent on that income, then it may make sense to let the policy stand as it is. However, if you have no financial obligations to your ex, then you can name a new beneficiary and change the policy or discontinue it altogether.

You may want to consider getting disability insurance as well in case an injury or illness limits your ability to work. If you are dependent on alimony, your divorce agreement should include a clause that requires your ex to have disability coverage.

Car Insurance
The first step in updating your auto insurance happens when you and your spouse are living in separate locations. Inform your insurance company of where each car is located and the new commuting distances if applicable. When the divorce is final, you will each need your own insurance policy. If you have any children who drive, they should be insured with the parent in whose home they spend the most time. Sometimes this is difficult to determine, and the insurance company should be consulted to ensure that the policy is written correctly according to that company’s rules. It is possible that teen drivers will need to be insured on both parents’ policies.

Home Insurance
Your home insurance policy should be updated to reflect who is living in the house during the divorce and/or separation. When the divorce is final, the policy should be in the homeowner’s name. If you end up moving out and renting while you look for a new house of your own, be sure to get renters insurance which covers your belongings and provides liability insurance as well.

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Gerard F. Miles

Licensed since 1978

Member at firm Huesman, Jones and Miles, LLC

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