Health Care Debate Putting Divorces on Hold

The news cycle has been dominated for weeks by the debate on health care in our country. Recently, financial planners and divorce attorneys have taken notice of a new trend: some separating couples are delaying their divorces due to the uncertain future of health care.

As always, we remain committed to keeping political views separate from our practice. As leading divorce attorneys in West Michigan, information around this story is important to share- here is what the experts are reporting.

Divorce on Pause

Until they see some clarity regarding health care policy, couples are pushing the pause button on their divorce proceedings. Lili Vasileff, founder and president of Divorce and Money Matters, said, “We don’t know what will be in place, what it will cost, and if you can even get it,” regarding health care in the near future. Some are staying legally married but using post-nuptial agreements to define separation of assets and terms of a possible future divorce. Others are separating, finalizing divorce papers, but delaying finalization to maintain health insurance policies.

Divorce and Health Care Pre-ACA

Before the Affordable Care Act took effect, divorcing spouses had at least some protections. Under COBRA, they were entitled to three years of continued coverage on their former spouse’s plan before needing to find a new policy. This, however, often proved difficult for those with pre-existing conditions, as they were either charged more or flat-out denied coverage.

Building a Budget

Health insurance costs can often be included in the calculation of spousal support payments. With no clear picture for premiums in the future, attorneys are being forced to estimate. Along with the uncertain costs of plans, the potential increase in premiums makes estimating difficult. With some estimates projecting deductibles reaching $10,000 in the next ten years, setting a fair spousal support budget remains a challenge for divorce attorneys in West Michigan.

We take pride in helping West Michigan families navigate their divorces, whether through traditional litigation or a Collaborative Divorce. If you are facing the prospect of divorce and want to discuss the potential health care implications of your case, send us an email!