Health (and other insurance)

| Divorce Legally Speaking | November 25, 2019

Yikes! There was a rush of people filing for dissolution of marriage just after the first of the year – as there is every
year. Once someone files, they can change health, automobile and other insurance and even beneficiaries, right?

Hold on for a second! I’m sure you read the preliminary injunction that was issued when the petition for dissolution was filed, didn’t you? Or you read it when you received the documents from your spouse? If not, I won’t chastise you, but you need to go read it. You were ordered not to make any modifications to any insurance – meaning you were not allowed to remove the other person from your insurance just because you filed. (If you did, then you need to talk with someone about the potential implications for you.)

If a spouse disobeys the court’s instruction and removes the other from an insurance policy before the decree of dissolution of marriage is entered, a judge can order one person to pay the entire cost of a medical procedure that would have otherwise been covered had the medical insurance not been canceled. If you think that sounds harsh, the court can also fine or potentially incarcerate someone for violating the preliminary injunction – if the violation is severe enough.

The same is true for automobile insurance policies. You can’t take your spouse off of any insurance policy. I understand the argument that one person continues to pay for it while the other benefits. But, wouldn’t you rather pay the premium as opposed to taking your wife or husband off of a policy and then s/he gets in a car accident – with no insurance coverage? If you’re still married, then you both are liable and you’ll likely end up paying more to resolve the case than you would spend on the insurance premiums.

But what happens after the decree? Once people are legally divorced, then they cannot remain on the same health insurance policy. To do otherwise and mislead the insurance company is generally considered a very bad thing. So don’t do it!

Once the policyholder spouse notifies his/her human resources or the insurance company of the dissolution of marriage, usually the other spouse is provided notification of eligibility to enroll in COBRA. This can be expensive and it is usually worth checking into other insurance policies to determine the best, and most cost-effective coverage.

After a dissolution, both spouses should also obtain their own automobile and other insurance policies.

The idea behind the preliminary injunction is that assets, liabilities, insurance, etc. are to remain status quo during the dissolution of marriage. In essence, they are to be “frozen.” The courts don’t like people who ignore court orders. Are there things you can to do protect yourself before filing, absolutely! And, if you’re considering dissolution of marriage, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss what can, and cannot, be done.

Contact a Trusted Attorney

Duenas Eden Law, PLC provides Proven Judgement in Difficult Matters in Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Same-Sex Legal Issues. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

 

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the April 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living