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How divorce can affect insurance coverage

On Behalf of | May 6, 2019 | Divorce, Spousal Maintenance

Some divorcing couples in Minnesota have to-do lists that include such things as sorting out marital assets and handling any custody issues that may be part of the divorce process. During this stressful time, it’s easy to overlook other matters, such as insurance coverage for the family. However, it’s still important for separating spouses to be aware of how a change in marital status can affect insurance arrangements.

The insurance issues that often come into play during the end of a marriage usually involve health and life insurance. With health insurance, it’s common for one spouse, usually the higher-earning one, to be covered by the other’s plan they have through work. In order to make things easier post-divorce, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows an individual to remain covered under their ex’s plan for up to three years. The potential drawback for a lower-earning spouse without their own employer option is having to pay additional administrative fees, although Affordable Care Act plans may be more budget-friendly.

Life insurance can be especially important during a divorce for a spouse expected to receive alimony. Normally, spousal support ends if the paying ex passes away. However, under certain circumstances, payments may continue with funds from the deceased spouse’s life insurance policy. This type of insurance is also sometimes required as part of a divorce settlement. It’s generally advised that the recipient spouse control the policy to avoid lapses in coverage and other issues.

It’s typically recommended that insurance changes be made before a divorce is final to prevent complications that may arise if a spouse should be deemed uninsurable. A divorce attorney may approach insurance matters by bringing in an accountant or financial adviser to identify all existing policies. This step might also allow a divorcing spouse to be more aware of what coverage changes they’ll need to make.

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