When couples divorce in New Jersey, the issue of health insurance coverage becomes very important. This is especially true if children are involved and covered under one parent's health insurance policy. The court's goal is to make sure that the children will not have any interruption or disruption in their medical care. To that end, health insurance issues can be agreed to by the divorcing couple or a judge can make a ruling regarding health insurance.
Certification of Insurance Coverage
When you file for divorce in New Jersey, you are required to submit a form called a Certification of Insurance Coverage. On this form you must list all of your current insurance policies, including health, automobile, life and homeowner's insurance. The form specifically requires you to list the name of the insurance carrier, the people covered by the insurance, and the policy and group numbers. Therefore, be sure to have this information on hand when preparing to file for divorce. The only time this form is not required is if you and your spouse have already reached an agreement with respect to all issues in your marriage dissolution and the only thing left for the court to do is simply grant the divorce. If your divorce is contested, a Certification of Insurance Coverage is required.
Changes in Health Insurance Coverage
When completing the Certification of Insurance Coverage, you need to explain if you have canceled or modified any insurance policies within the past 90 days. If you have, you need to explain what changes were made and why. This is important because the court wants to make sure that one spouse does not make changes to insurance policies without the other spouse's consent in anticipation of a divorce. Therefore, if you are considering filing for divorce, it is best not to make any changes to any insurance policies unless your spouse consents in writing.
Inability to Change Insurance Pending Divorce
Once you complete your Certification of Insurance Coverage, it gets filed with the court along with your Complaint for Divorce. Throughout the duration of your divorce proceeding, you are not permitted to make any changes to any of the policies listed on your Certification. Exceptions can be made for special circumstances, such as if you change jobs and get new insurance. Also, if your spouse agrees, you may be permitted to make changes provided that you let the court know. However, for the most part, changes to insurance policies are not permitted while your divorce is pending.
Health Insurance and Child Support
As part of your divorce, you and your spouse can make an agreement as to who will pay for your children's health insurance. If you cannot agree, the court can enter an order requiring one parent to cover the children under his or her insurance policy. If you are a non-custodial parent paying child support and covering your children under your insurance policy, you will receive a credit or reduction in your child support based on how much you pay for the children's insurance. If you are a custodial parent receiving child support and you cover your children on your insurance, your child support may increase. Irrespective of which parent pays for the health insurance, the most important thing to remember is that the issue must be addressed during your divorce.