Tackling three big questions about divorce
If you're thinking about divorce, but are worried about what happens after, don't fear—you're not alone. Everyone in your position thinks about life after marriage, which frightens them into staying in one even though they'd prefer to get out. However, there are three questions that seem to pop up a lot in our offices, and I'd like to answer them. Again, every divorce is unique, but the law is the law sometimes. I'm just here to enforce it and guide you properly.
Can an ex-spouse stay on a health insurance plan? The short and long answer are the same: no. Once you split, you are on your own in regards to health insurance. The children you share can stay on, but you are not able to continue. Now, that's not to say that you are left out in the cold-although what you are given is a light jacket and not a parka. Most insurance companies view divorce as a change of life scenario, meaning that you don't have to wait until the next processing date to make changes in your coverage. You will automatically be able to join COBRA insurance, but that comes at a high premium. Some couples who separate may be able to stay on the same insurance during that time, but more and more insurance companies are beginning to phase that out.
Can my spouse remove me as his beneficiary during the divorce? No. Many states impose an ATRO [Automatic Temporary Restraining Order], which puts a kibosh on any changes made on things like life insurance.
Am I eligible for any of my ex-spouse's Social Security Benefits? Yes! If you can answer in the affirmative to the following, you can collect 50% of his benefits (while he still collects it in full:
- You are currently at least 62. (If your ex is deceased, you can start collecting at age 60.)
- Your Social Security benefits under your own work record are less than his. (You can only receive one Social Security benefit.)
- You are not currently married.
- You were legally married to him for at least 10 years.
Again, all divorces are unique, so give us a call at (818) 649-7559, and we can help you decide whether it is the right choice for you.