Medical insurance coverage affected by divorce

Dealing with the financial aspect of a marital breakup in New Jersey can understandably be confusing. Some of the most complicated financial issues to deal with include the division of property and debts. However, an area that many spouses overlook when they get started with the divorce process is health insurance.

The question some spouses may have is whether medical insurance coverage can be extended post divorce? The answer is no. There is no way permanent way to stay on an ex-spouse's health insurance plan and neither is there a way to force the ex to pay for one's new, separate plan.

However, for divorcing spouses looking for a medical insurance option following divorce, they can take advantage of COBRA. Based on COBRA, companies that have 20-plus employees must keep offering insurance those who otherwise would lose these benefits, including former spouses. This coverage can be extended for up to 36 months. COBRA not only helps former spouses but also part- and full-time employees, along with retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare benefits. However, the cost of COBRA is usually pricey, so the spouse losing the insurance may benefit from researching private plans or his or her own employer's health insurance plan.

An alternative to divorce that would temporarily preserve the health insurance of a spouse, is a Bed and Board Judgment.  It is not a divorce, rather it is a temporary agreement between the parties concerning the many issues that a divorce entails.  For example, it would include child support, parenting time, custody, partial distribution of marial assets, maintenance of health insurance, etc. during a time period in which the parties are living separate from one another up to the time a final judgment of divorce is entered into. Although a temporary agreement can be reached on many of the issues that would become finalized in a final judgment of divorce, the terms of this temporary agreement could be incorporated into a final judgment ultimately.  In many cases a Bed and Board Judgment is able to meet many of the needs of the parties without being offically divorced.

Figuring out how to handle financial matters during divorce can be overwhelming, as the decisions made during divorce can have a long-term impact on a divorcing spouse. The wrong decision may set the individual up for financial failure following the divorce. However, an attorney in New Jersey can help the spouse to make personally favorable decisions to protect his or her financial future.

Source:, "How Does Divorce Affect Health Insurance Coverage?," Jan. 22, 2018

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