Terminated Health Insurance Before Divorce

by Beverly Bird
You usually can't cancel health insurance during your divorce.

You usually can't cancel health insurance during your divorce.

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Most states put a freeze on assets and other economic issues when you file for divorce. You're prohibited from changing anything, and this usually includes insurance coverage. In some jurisdictions, this is more than an unspoken rule. Depending on where you live, the court may issue temporary orders prohibiting you from terminating health insurance coverage, or you may have to sign a sworn affidavit, promising not to.

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Before Filing for Divorce

Some states, like New Jersey, require that you submit an affidavit with your complaint for divorce when you file, telling the court what insurance coverage your family has in place. You also must state whether you've made any changes to these policies within the preceding 90 days, and you're barred from changing them going forward -- at least until your divorce is final or the court grants you special permission.

After Filing

Other states, such as California, automatically issue restraining orders when one spouse files for divorce. These orders bar both spouses from canceling or changing insurance coverage during the proceedings. You can't terminate the policy or remove your spouse or children from its coverage until your divorce is final.

Penalties for Termination

The penalties for breaking insurance rules can be severe. For example, in California, you can be charged with contempt of court if you break the terms of the restraining order. Repercussions of cancellation vary by state, so if you've filed for divorce -- or if you're thinking about it -- don't change any of your family's health insurance coverage until you've spoken with a local lawyer.