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Insurance issues you may not think of before divorce

While the festive lights and songs from carolers may put most people in good moods, scorned spouses are busy planning their exit plans for 2013. While custody of children and financial support are important considerations, most spouses do not consider the myriad insurance issues that may come about.

Failing to plan for insurance coverage may lead to additional (and annoying) costs. So potential divorcees should think about the following issues:

You are still responsible for joint items - Essentially, before you throw a brick through the windshield on the car that he or she drove to see their new flame, consider this: you would probably have to pay for these damages by yourself, since the insurance company would consider this an "intentional act."

You can still receive health insurance coverage - If you were previously covered under your spouse's insurance policy, you can continue such coverage under COBRA. This type of policy covers families who lose coverage because of familial changes such as divorce. This coverage may last up to 36 months, but it can be expensive.

You are still responsible for insurance premiums on your home - Just like mortgage payments, you are responsible for paying the insurance costs on jointly held property until you reach an agreement (or have a divorce decree) detailing your responsibilities.

Don't drop kids from coverage - Parents are required to continue coverage for children as a matter of law, so don't eliminate children from your insurance policy. Also, parents should keep in mind that they are expected to split the costs of medical expenses not covered by insurance (i.e. unreimbursed expenses).

For answers to other insurance questions, an experienced family law attorney can help.

Source: Insurance.com, Love Hurts: 5 Insurance Heartaches When Love Goes Bad, February 7, 2012

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