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Keeping insurance coverage after divorce in Massachusetts

Divorce brings about many changes. While some may be welcome -- an end to daily arguments -- more often it brings a host of unsettling and often unwanted changes in a family's status quo.

One of the most important issues to be settled in a divorce is ensuring continuous coverage of health insurance for both former spouses and all children.

While the implementation of the Affordable Care Act provides for more health care choices, in some cases in certain states, coverage is still spotty. In all likelihood, prior to a divorce, one spouse would be covered under the other's health insurance plan offered through their employer. Once the marriage dissolves, said spouse is under no obligation to continue coverage of the ex-spouse, and in cases where there is a remarriage, this would no longer be possible.

The best way to assure that all are covered by health insurance is to review all options and make sure that any settlement negotiation take into account the costs of covering minor children, and if you were formerly under the umbrella of a spouse's plan, that you have coverage available to you through another option.

Your attorney can insist that language is inserted into the divorce judgment that guarantees former spouses must continue to keep the same level of health insurance benefits in place for their children. This is also true in cases of life insurance. If the primary beneficiary was a former spouse, this would certainly be changed to reflect any children as beneficiaries.

If one of the parties is remaining in the family home, it may be necessary to make changes to the property and casualty coverage to insure the documents reflect all changes in ownership and occupancy. You would never want a claim delayed or outright denied due to recalcitrance or spite on the part of a former spouse.

A Massachusetts divorce attorney can answer basic questions regarding ongoing insurance coverage and guide you through the many changes divorce will bring.

Source: Dentistry IQ, "Important considerations for the couple going through a divorce: Part 1" Theodore C. Schumann, CPA, CFP, Mar. 15, 2014

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