Life is characterized by uncertainty, which is why we purchase life insurance policies and take out other forms of insurance. However, in case of divorce, it can make for a hindrance rather than a help. If you are preparing for divorce or simply considering life insurance, knowing what you’re up against can be helpful as you start filling out paperwork.
Decide who will pay the premiums
An important decision you will have to make after divorce relates to who will pay the premiums. In case you are concerned about the possibility of your ex-spouse defaulting on payment, you should try to get information on billing. This will ensure that such mistakes do not cost you the life insurance policy. If you find this process to be difficult, selling the life insurance policy before filing for divorce may be an option, and can help make the process more manageable.
In most cases, married couples will appoint their spouse to be the primary beneficiary in the event that they lose their income or die. After divorce, you should consider renaming the beneficiaries in your policy. If children are involved and for some reason you do not want the other parent responsible, you can appoint a separate adult custodian (family friend, relative, etc.) to handle the insurance proceeds on their behalf. However, some life insurance policies are irrevocable, which means that beneficiaries can’t be changed, which can complicate the process.
Accounting for cash value
There is a good chance that your life insurance policy will accumulate cash value after you have paid premiums for a period of time. Every time you make a payment, the insurance company will direct part of the money into a fund that earns interest. The money accumulated in this fund belongs to you, giving you the option of foregoing the death benefit and taking the cash instead via life settlement in some instances. Since this is an asset, this cash value must be divided fairly according to divorce law. In most cases, this means you will walk away with half of the policy’s cash value.
Insuring child support payments
If you will be receiving child support and alimony after the divorce, you should look for ways to protect the income. This is also important if you were the primary breadwinner of the home, as child support and alimony will no longer be paid if you die. Insuring future alimony and child support payments will go a long way in ensuring that your children are cared for and that they get the financial support they need both now and in future. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce and relationship with your ex-spouse, it is generally wisest to let the parent with more dependable income take on policy upkeep.
If you are to ensure that your children continue to be protected after the divorce, you will have to understand the options available to you. Making sure that you have empowered yourself with a little knowledge and trustworthy legal and insurance experts will go a long way in minimizing the headaches associated with divorce.