HEALTH CARE COSTS IN DIVORCE
Maryland Divorce Attorney Explains Health Care Costs in Divorce
Settling a divorce can not only be complicated, but extremely stressful as well. On top of all the emotions you could be experiencing, there are many legal decisions in the mix of things you have to worry about that can affect your life forever. One of these complications is health insurance. In fact, many couples stay married just because of health insurance benefits. It could be a very stressful time if you’re on your spouse’s insurance plan and slowly start losing coverage because of a divorce, especially if you are battling an illness or chronic condition. Having a Maryland divorce attorney on your side can help ease some of the stress and worry you may be experiencing during such a life-changing event.
If you are on your spouse’s insurance, you can stay on that plan for up to 36 months for a small additional premium. It’s pertinent that the employer be notified prior to the Final Decree. The other good news is that you could potentially convince the judge to stay on the insurance plan if you have some sort of pre-existing condition or are self-employed. A Maryland divorce attorney can explain in detail as it pertains to your situation.
Health Insurance and Child Support
The court has the authority to require either parent to obtain health insurance for the child so long as it’s at a reasonable cost to the parent. What determines what is “reasonable” depends on different factors, particularly which parent’s policy is most affordable and which will be the most beneficial for the child. Other factors that can impact a parent’s child support obligation are:
- Each parent’s income
- Overnight stays with each parent
- Voluntary impoverishment
- Expenses such as special education or extraordinary medical expenses
Health insurance is what is known as “below the line” expense. What this means is, the parent who pays for the health insurance is reimbursed pro-rata by the respective income of the other parent. It’s a pretty straightforward computation and most parents have no disagreements when it comes to the health and well being of their child. But because employers rarely allow a parent to purchase health insurance just for the child, both the parent and the child is covered. This raises the question of determining what percentage of the health insurance is actually benefiting the child. Other factors like previous marriages and additional children can complicate the process so it’s best to speak to a Maryland divorce attorney who can provide legal recommendations.
Separation vs Divorce
In many cases, it’s best to stay separated instead of getting divorced. This allows both parents and all children to maintain the coverage already used. The main issue pertains to your tax and filing status as that will affect how you file. Another option for coverage if you are divorced is COBRA. COBRA is a federal law which allows an individual to be covered under a health insurance policy at their own cost for a set time period. It’s not uncommon for divorcing couples to split the additional cost if the spouse obtaining COBRA coverage has less income. This gives the spouse some time to obtain coverage or obtain employment with coverage. If you’re filing for divorce or considering separation, contact a Maryland divorce attorney for legal advice.
Call a Maryland Divorce Attorney to Understand Health Care & Divorce
Divorce can be an extremely difficult life event to navigate through. Because it affects the rest of your life, you want to make sure you take the right steps to ensure you get the best benefits, especially as it pertains to your health and well being. The Burton Firm understands how difficult this time could be in your life which is why we provide a strong attorney-client relationship. Give us a call to speak to a Maryland divorce attorney today.