While no one enters into a marriage believing that it is going to end one day, divorce is becoming a common occurrence. Couples reach an impasse in their marriage where they simply don’t get along anymore, and this can lead to them deciding that divorce is the best option.
Unfortunately, not all marriages end amicably. In some cases, there is a great deal of animosity between the spouses, and one may be totally opposed to the idea of getting divorced altogether. He or she can do lots of things to stand in the way of making this happen, and may do all that they can to make it incredibly difficult for the other spouse. This, unfortunately, happens a lot more than you may think.
Removing a Spouse from Health Insurance Before Getting Divorced
In some cases, because the marriage is coming to an end, one person may decide to start taking measures to remove themselves from financial responsibility for the other person. They may close bank accounts, move items to a safe deposit box, or take other steps to separate themselves from the other spouse.
One of the most common steps that people take or at least attempt to do is to remove their spouse from their health insurance. Because of the separation, they don’t think they should have to pay the insurance costs of their soon to be ex-husband or ex-wife. Therefore, they decide to simply take the person off of their insurance.
However there are some legalities that both people involved should be aware of before considering this option.
Can Someone Simply Be Removed From an Insurance Plan Before a Divorce?
Understand, you are probably still considered libel for your spouse if you are the sole provider of health insurance for the entire family. This is likely to be true until the divorce is completely finalized.
What this means for you is that it would not be to your advantage to remove your spouse off of your health insurance, especially if you are the sole provider of insurance and the family, because this can be viewed by the court as a step that you are not authorized to take. This can be seen in a negative way by the judge, which is something you simply don’t want to do.
As part of the settlement, the judge may determine that you are still responsible for providing healthcare costs for your spouse. This happens in a lot of cases where a couple has been married for 20 years or more and one spouse has spent the vast majority of his or her time at home caring for the family and running the household.
In these situations, the court is likely to mandate that one spouse is responsible for paying the healthcare costs of the other simply because the other stayed at home to care for the family. It is often viewed by the court that the stay-at-home spouse is unlikely to find an occupation that can provide adequate healthcare protection and since they have “earned” in the court’s view the right to additional benefits because of their role in the family, this may mean the court mandates the other spouse to pay health insurance costs.
Taking action to remove the other spouse off of the health insurance prior to the divorce occurring can be seen in an extremely negative light by the court. They may view this as your attempt to circumvent the will of the judge, which can mean the judge can punish you in other ways. Take no action in this way and less it has been approved.
Of course, if both spouses have their own health insurance through their workplace, then you are likely to find that there is no issue whatsoever and you removing your spouse off of your plan. They are still covered after all, so you will have no issue with removing the other spouse from your plan.
Keep in mind, before taking any action at all, you should consult with a family law attorney to see if there are any legalities involved. The last thing you want to do is create a situation that puts you in a negative light before the judge, so consulting your attorney is a good step.
What About Removing Them From a Life Insurance Plan?
While the health insurance issue is one where you may find yourself responsible for carrying for the spouse you are divorcing, there is nothing that mandates that you provide life insurance for yourself that pays your soon-to-be ex-spouse or that you provide life insurance for him or her as well.
Life insurance is a safety net. This means that if you wish to not have it you are not required to keep it at all. If you want to change your plan to name a different beneficiary you are completely entitled to do so. That is your right.
The only issue you may have related to life insurance is if the life insurance is a savings account. There are many different kinds of life insurance policies that allow you to draw money off of that policy. This may be viewed by the court as an asset, which may stand in the way of you being able to stop paying towards it.
You would still be likely to change the beneficiary receiving the insurance money if something happens to you, but you may not be able to cancel the policy outright if money would be returned to you as a result of canceling the policy.
More Than Laws Go Into a Judges Decision
You probably are wishing that the court system was a whole lot simpler, but it just doesn’t seem to be that way. Clear-cut policies are not how the courts work these days, so it pays to always consult your attorney first before making any decision. While you may not want to look out after your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you also don’t want to do something that upsets the court. This is why waiting to talk to your attorney is essential.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.