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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I am getting a divorce, but have not yet seen a lawyer. I

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I am getting a divorce, but have not yet seen a lawyer. I have decided not to see a lawyer and to let my husband do the filing, since he wanted the divorce in the first place, he can pay for it. My question however is... how quickly can I legally remove him from my health insurance policy that I have through my place of employment? I know that my husband is planning back surgery and wants my insurance to cover it... even though he already has his own full policy that his parents pay for. Should I bother filing legal separation since divorce is imminent? My company requires some form of legal paperwork to prove that we are separated and intending to divorce before I can change my beneficiary details and remove him from my policy. Any suggestions would be helpful. I live in the state of TN.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. To answer your question(s), I need to spell out a few "rules" first. That way, you not only understand "how" but also the "why."

1) There is no mandatory law that a spouse has to keep the other spouse on an insurance policy. So at any time, he may be dropped. This is at your discretion.

2) If the divorce is uncontested, the Judge allows the parties to make whatever decisions they want. So if there is an agreement that you should keep him on for x amount of time, then once the Judge signs off on this in temporary orders (while the main divorce trial hearing is pending), it is binding. However, this is if there is such an agreement. If there is not, then you can technically drop him from coverage whenever you wish.

3) The issue here is that if you refuse to agree to maintain him during temporary orders, he may then decide to have this case contested, which means that the majority of division of assets, etc, is handled by the Court. In uncontested divorces, the Court defers to the parties to make the decisions and then signs off on them. In contested divorces, the Court makes the decision going off law and equity. It is also common for parties to agree to 95% of the split, but then ask the Court to make a decision in regards XXXXX XXXXX 5% that cannot be agreed upon.

4) So the answer is you can remove him now if you wish, but doing so may hurt this matter being resolved peacefully as an uncontested divorce. Finally, know that even if he remains on the policy, you can then possibly say "sure, but you pay for part of the coverage..." It is a negotiation.

5) Finally, know that once divorce goes though, he cannot be on the policy even if he wanted to because the insurance only covers spouses. He may be dropped, either then and there or at next sign up period. However, he will have the option of COBRA - see here.

6) Filing for legal separation if divorce is imminent is somewhat redundant. Understand that even once divorce is filed however, there is a waiting period. The minimum statutory waiting period for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences is 60 days after filing if there are no unmarried minor children and 90 days after filing if the couple have unmarried, minor children.

7) Ergo, temporary orders in the divorce may be requested (insurance matters included) while the divorce is pending.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your answer. We were married under a year... it will be a year this month actually. There is nothing for him to contest, that I can think of.. no children involved. No joint assets. No joint bank accounts.. nothing. To him, this was a marriage of financial convenience.. nothing more. The last thing I want is to keep him on my insurance and ultimately end up paying for his back surgery.. .which is what he's trying to accomplish, so I'd prefer to remove him as soon as humanly possible. Can I take your advice and show it to my HR department and hope that it will suffice in allowing me to drop him today. To my knowledge, nothing has been filed yet. But, he is having his mother find a lawyer and she is taking care of the divorce... which I find to be completely inappropriate and weird... but that's neither here nor there. And, I agree that filing a legal separation is redundant if he's divorcing me anyway. I am willing to take a chance that he will contest the divorce if I remove him from my policy. I feel he is trying to be sneaky and I want him removed from my life entirely... this is the last piece of that puzzle for me. I've already relocated and I've already gotten all of my belongings from the house.. which belongs to him. I don't want anything more from this man. He physically and emotionally abused me and I'm officially done with the marriage. I have a broken thumb and have yet to press charges because I wanted all of my things delivered intact... which they have been. Now.. with all this new information, what in your opinion, should be my next move? Thanks so much, Ely!

You are very welcome.

Now.. with all this new information, what in your opinion, should be my next move?

I cannot tell you WHAT to do as this would cross the line between general information and into advice, and I cannot do this.

However, if it were me, hypothetically:

I would wait for him to file the divorce and once he does, tell him that you do not mind carrying him on the insurance provided that he pays for part of it corresponding to his coverage and puts this in writing. If he agrees, I would do so. If he disagrees, I would threaten to take him off immediately, stating that nothing requires me to keep him on and if he wishes to make this into a contested divorce, I would be happy to do so and would also ask for alimony.

Likely, he will agree to negotiate, fearing litigation. He does not know that you want to get this over with as much as he does... it may help to play the role of a "crazy ex who will do anything to make his life difficult unless he agrees to terms."

Works often.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You're very welcome. Thanks for the hypothetical guidance!