As you go through the divorce process, you’re bound to have questions about your legal responsibilities and rights that you hadn’t previously considered. For instance, if your spouse is currently covered under your health insurance policy, you may be wondering when the earliest possible (or appropriate) time is to cancel that coverage.
Can I Cancel it Now?
If your health insurance is provided through your employer, they typically have regulations on when you can make changes to coverage, including both enrolling in and canceling a policy. In most cases, there are specific times you can make a major change: During open enrollment or following a “life event.” Finalizing a divorce is considered a life event, but filing for divorce is not. So in most cases, you will be forced to wait until your divorce is done to cancel your spouse’s coverage.
Even if You Can Cancel Your Spouse’s Insurance – Don’t!
The desire to begin cutting ties financially as soon as possible is understandable. But it’s very important that you wait out the process and do things at the appropriate time, or it could end up costing you dearly. Even if you find that you are able to cancel your spouse’s coverage immediately, don’t.
First of all, as long as you are still legally married, any medical bills incurred by either of you are considered community property. Therefore, if your spouse doesn’t have health insurance and something happens to him/her, you could be responsible for part or all of that expense.
Furthermore, you want to avoid doing anything that could tarnish your image during your divorce proceedings, especially if you end up going to court. Having prematurely canceled your spouse’s insurance will almost certainly be viewed as a hostile or spiteful action, and will create a bad impression for the judge hearing your case. This could significantly harm your chances of getting the things that are truly important to you, such as child custody or visitation rights, possession of your house, or preferential terms regarding your child support/spousal support agreements.
Taking any drastic action leading up to or during divorce proceedings without proper counsel is always a bad idea. If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, call Hoppes & Cutrer. Our knowledge and expertise will guide you through the process and help you avoid making costly mistakes.