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Divorce and life and health insurance

When people decide to divorce in California, they may find themselves facing complex financial decisions. Disentangling the relationships formed in marriage can be complex and difficult, especially because people may be connected through a wide range of accounts, funds, beneficiary designations and other official ties. While people may pay more attention to other aspects of property division, there are several insurance issues that may be particularly important to address quickly after the divorce is final, especially in relation to life and health insurance.

In many cases, one person provides health insurance for his or her spouse through his or her workplace. After a divorce, the person who provided the coverage will need to report the change in status to the insurance company. This will leave his or her spouse without insurance, so it is urgent that that individual acts to find coverage. Under COBRA, a person can access his or her ex-spouse's employer policy for up to three years after a divorce. However, the costs can be substantial. Under the Affordable Care Act, divorce is a qualifying life event for people to enroll in new insurance. Better options may be available through a person's employer or on the government exchanges.

Life insurance is another concern during and after a divorce. When spousal support is involved, the paying person may also have a life insurance policy to ensure that payments will not be stopped in case of his or her untimely death. In addition, people will generally want to act quickly to change their beneficiaries after divorce to prevent unforeseen outcomes.

Insurance is only one of the many issues for people to deal with during and after a divorce when planning for the future. A family law attorney can provide advice and representation to a divorcing spouse to work to obtain a fair settlement on property division, spousal support and other divorce legal matters.

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