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What will happen to your insurance policies after divorce?

When couples divorce, they face the task of dividing many things. Property, assets, and mutual bank accounts must all be split apart. Deciding who gets the antique desk may be hard, but it is fairly simple to resolve. Once the couple determines who gets to keep the desk, the only thing left to do is load it onto a moving truck. Other things can be much more challenging to separate when a couple divorces, though.

Insurance policies are so complex that separating from a spouse's policy can be quite frustrating. When couples divorce they should probably look closely at their health, life, homeowner, and auto insurance policies. If both spouses do not investigate how divorce will affect their insurance coverage early on, they could end up footing a large unexpected bill due to being removed from a spouse's plan.

One woman describes her frustration when her former husband tried to remove her from his health insurance policy. She explains he tried to take her off his plan multiple times. She was not aware the change was set to occur until her co-payments suddenly dropped to zero after his employer changed insurance plans.

Since the process of splitting apart insurance policies can be so complicated, couples may consider not separating their plans. However, one report warns that keeping an ex-spouse on a plan could be considered insurance fraud. Separating insurance plans can be even more difficult when there are children involved. Couples will probably need to decide whose policy the children will remain on and whether the other spouse will contribute payments for the children's healthcare costs.

To make sure that insurance policies are correctly separated in a timely manner, seeking the advice of a divorce attorney will likely simplify the process.

Source: Reuters, "How to untangle your insurance plans in divorce," Geoff Williams, Sept. 11, 2012

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