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Can I stop him from dropping the life insurance policies?

October 11, 2017 Our Blog

Sadly, the term “insurance revenge” is a real thing and it affects divorcing couples everywhere. It occurs when the primary insurance holder, usually the husband, drops his divorcing spouse from life insurance policies. This can also occur with health insurance, auto insurance, and other policies as well, but primarily concerns life insurance. Fortunately, some states are beginning to recognize that many of these policy changes are occurring in the heat of passion and are taking steps to prevent insurance revenge in divorces.

Can You Stop Your Husband From Dropping You From Insurance Policies?
When divorce proceedings begin, tempers run hot and each spouse may be quick to act in matters that are intended to hurt their former partner. This includes dropping the spouse from insurance policies, but courts and divorce attorneys have begun to address this kind of revenge. In an effort to stop this from happening, many divorce agreements stipulate a requirement to maintain health and life insurance policies for a period following the divorce settlement.

Additionally, divorcing couples often act without realizing their revenge tactics will also affect any children produced by the union. For instance, when a husband drops his family plan with his health insurance provider, he may not take the time to realize this will affect his children, as well as his ex-wife. Similar circumstances may occur with life insurance policies, where the former spouse never intended to cancel the children as his or her beneficiaries. Hoping to alleviate this kind of confusion, divorcing couples are now making their children their irrevocable beneficiaries to ensure they will always be covered.

Generally, these are voluntary acts that require the divorcing couple to work together to do what’s best for the entire family. In circumstances where there’s enough animosity to inspire insurance revenge in the first place, it may be difficult to get both spouses to agree to stipulations for maintaining the status quo on insurance plans. Working together, divorce attorneys for both sides may be able to bring the former couple together, which can be the first step in setting up stipulations for continued insurance coverage.

Some States Prevent Insurance Revenge With Restrictive Divorce Laws
Spouses have been using insurance policies to commit abuses against their exes long enough that, in some states, the courts and state legislators are stepping in. Many states have enacted laws that prevent spouses from using insurance policies to “get back” at their former mates. By establishing legal protections, these states are taking one major concern out of the divorce process and ensuring a fairer settlement.

California, for instance, has enacted laws that protect divorcing parties against insurance abuses. When a couple files for divorce in that state, temporary restraining orders are automatically enacted against the divorcing parties, which prevent them from canceling any form of insurance. Auto, life, and health insurance are the major types of policies covered under this kind of court protection order.
There are only two conditions under which a person may drop an ex-spouse from an insurance policy. He or she must get the written consent from the former partner to do so or must get the court’s permission. Any other condition, including letting the policy lapse out of forgetfulness, will result in contempt of court charges.

In spite of the law, some individuals will risk contempt of court charges and drop their ex-spouses from insurance plans anyway. To prevent this action, some divorce attorneys suggest sending a “notice of adverse interest” to the insurance companies. This is a notification that the individual is divorcing the policy holder and the insurance carrier is not permitted to allow changes regarding coverage. The notice specifies that the law protects them from being canceled as a beneficiary or as a dependent, while the divorce is in process.

If you’re going through a divorce, or have reason to suspect a separation may be imminent, retaining an experienced divorce attorney may be in your best interests. Together, you and your attorney can ensure that you remain protected under the current insurance policies, while a settlement is pursued in court.



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