Health insurance is confusing. When you’re going through a divorce, you may be wondering what’s next for your health care. During our monthly divorce workshop recently, we received a question about this and one about the legal documents required for separation. Here are the answers.
Q: When we divorce, can I stay on his health insurance?
A: Probably not. Health insurance varies by state and by the employer. But whether your partner’s health insurance is through his employer or the government’s healthcare marketplace, policies tend to cover only spouses and children. In some cases, you can include an unmarried domestic partner on your insurance plan, but then it’s assumed you are living together and you are often required to furnish proof of that or that you file taxes together. Because both of those will likely stop after your divorce, you must acquire your own health insurance plan. Be sure to consider that expense as you estimate your post-divorce budget. That cost, like others, may contribute to your need for alimony.
Q: Are there legal documents to file for a one-year separation?
As you have discovered, North Carolina’s divorce process requires couples to separate for one year before a divorce. During this time, you and your spouse must live in separate residences (not just separate bedrooms), and chances are, you will work with an attorney to begin the divorce process. There is no specific paperwork to file indicating separation has begun. If you and your partner end up in court, you will testify that you lived apart for one year; no paper documentation is required. However, you and your spouse may draw up a separation agreement, which is a binding contract in which both parties agree to whatever alimony or child support might be paid, property division, and more. The only thing this agreement does not do is grant you a legal divorce. Speak to your attorney about the best path forward for your and your partner in the divorce process.
Do you have a question about divorce? Register for our monthly divorce workshop in Raleigh, which takes place on the second Saturday.