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Health insurance concerns after divorce

For a spouse without employer-sponsored health care coverage, the prospect of divorce can be intimidating. Specifically, having to independently fund health insurance can drain financial resources and perhaps necessitate a spousal support award.

Since the launch of the health care exchanges provided by the Affordable Care Act, however, the process of obtaining health insurance after a divorce may be easier. For starters, there are more options. In addition, preexisting conditions are not a deal-breaker under many options. 

It's unlikely that the Affordable Care Act is creating more divorces. Rather, it may be that unhappy couples who were staying together only for financial reasons may now have more options for a fresh start.

Of course, more factors than just health insurance coverage are involved in a divorce court's decision to approve a spousal support or alimony award. As a starting point, each spouse's earning capacity must be examined in the context of anticipated expenses. Age and health can influence that determination. In addition, the length of a marriage can also lead to a greater spousal support award.

If a divorce is highly contested, an experienced family law attorney may know of experts who can testify about financial needs, valuations and other evidentiary matters. Experts may also be needed to properly value the assets in a marital estate.

A divorce is stressful enough without heated disputes over the issue of spousal support. With an accurate picture of the marital estate, the potential for disputes may be eased. At a minimum, a clear recitation of the facts will help a divorce court determine the appropriate approach.

Source:, "Insurance no longer may hinder divorce," Robert Calandra, March 2, 2014

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