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What happens to a life insurance policy during divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2019 | Divorce |

When going through a divorce, there seems to be a million details that have to be sorted out. From living arrangements and child custody to division of the movie collection, the specifics of dividing two intertwined lives is exhausting, at least. One item that is often overlooked or dismissed during the chaos of divorce is life insurance. What happens to a life insurance policy when a Connecticut couple divorces? Can the ex-spouse still be the beneficiary?

All life insurance policies have a named beneficiary. When the policy holder is married the beneficiary is normally the person’s spouse. This helps the spouse financially in the event of the insured’s death. It allows him or her to be able to continue paying bills and necessary expenses the other spouse is no longer there to assist with.

When an employed spouse dies, a life insurance policy can provide the needed funds to get the family through the financial hardship.   Sometimes a nonworking spouse is the one who passes away, and a life insurance policy is helpful in these situations as well. The loss of this spouse may cause there to be a sudden need for childcare, elder care, tutors, or even house cleaning help, which can all be expensive. It can also mean the working spouse has to work less or switch to a lower-paying job to help with the duties the missing spouse performed.

When a couple gets divorced, it doesn’t mean these considerations completely go away — especially if there are children involved. If one ex-spouse passes away, his or her life insurance policy can still be crucial for the other ex-spouse to be able to provide for the needs of the children. Sometimes, even the court will determine that one must maintain his or her policy as a condition of the divorce when there is spousal support or child support ordered.

An insurance policy doesn’t just disappear due to a divorce. While it is not mandatory that the ex-spouse be named beneficiary, it is certainly possible and not completely uncommon to do so. In order to protect one’s interests and make sure all actions are in keeping with Connecticut law, it is best to discuss all assets, including insurance policies, with an attorney.