Last month, we wrote about the effect of divorce on health insurance coverage, specifically answering the question of whether a spouse can remain on his or her ex’s health insurance policy after a divorce is finalized. In short, the answer to that question is no, but you can read more about it on our previous Atlanta family law blog post.
Today, we will discuss life insurance and how it is affected by divorce.
Generally, a spouse can be removed as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy if the divorce action has not yet been commenced or after it becomes final. If the divorce is in process, however, most family courts will not allow any changes to be made the life insurance policy. Depending on the laws of your state, the other spouse and/or the judge overseeing the divorce case may need to approve of any changes to the life insurance policy or similar financial matters before they are made.
It is also important to note the relationship between life insurance and other parts of a divorce settlement. Because child support and alimony payments generally end upon the death of the payor, the divorce order may require one or both spouses to maintain a life insurance policy to guarantee that those payments continue after death.
Similarly, it may be a good idea for the custodial parent or recipient spouse to purchase a separate life insurance policy on the payor. If you decide to go this route, it is a good idea to buy the policy before your divorce is finalized, and to designate yourself as both the owner of the policy and its beneficiary.
Source: Forbes, “Three of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance, Life Insurance and Social Security After Divorce,” Jeff Landers, June 5, 2012