Divorce and Insurance Issues

Couples do not get married with expectation of getting a divorce. They enter the union and commitment with all the intentions of remaining married for the rest of their lives. However, in Oregon, thousands of spouses each year go through a divorce.

During a marriage, couple accumulate property together, share finances and debts, and purchase different types of insurance, including:

  • Automobile insurance
  • Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance

Oregon law requires owners of vehicles registered in the state to have automobile insurance that covers damages for liability that arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of the vehicle. If the spouse of the policyholder lives in the same household, the spouse is covered under the automobile policy for the uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage. The spouse may also be covered under the policy if the policyholder spouse drives a vehicle insured under the policy with the holder’s permission. It is best to remove the other spouse from the insurance coverage under the policy during the divorce process.

Homeowner’s insurance may often contain the name of both spouses. If the house is awarded to one spouse, the removal of the other spouse from the insurance policy is necessary to avoid liability and financial responsibility. In cases where spouses were renting, renter’s insurance may be required by the landlord after the divorce. The divorcing spouses may still be under a lease agreement and responsible for the rent and insurance premiums.

It is common for one spouse to have health insurance through the other spouse’s healthcare coverage. However, the coverage may end once a divorce is granted. For the spouse who loses the health coverage, they may be eligible to receive federal COBRA continuation coverage if they are a spouse of a covered employee (of an employer with 20 or more employees) but lost coverage due to divorce. Oregon has state continuation insurance coverage, similar to COBRA, which helps employees of employers with less than 20 employees to continue their health coverage after employment or insurance coverage terminated. People covered under their spouse’s health insurance could also maintain coverage. In cases where the spouses are 55 or older, they spouse that would have lost insurance may continue receiving health coverage until they are eligible of Medicare.

In some cases, a judge may order one spouse to pay spousal support to the other. In the support order, the judge may require the paying spouse to maintain existing life insurance policies in which the spouse to receive support is the beneficiary. If the paying spouse does not have a life insurance policy, the court may order the spouse to purchase life insurance making the dependent spouse the beneficiary.

Divorce is a complicated process. Frequently, insurance issues and problems will arise. To help guide you through this stressful time, the attorneys at Gearing, Rackner & McGrath are standing by to help. To learn more visit https://grmfamilylaw.com/.

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