Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Surviving Emotionally

In most divorces, one partner wants to leave and goes through the effort to move out and file for divorce, while the other partner does not want and resist the divorce. Regardless of what the person who instigated the divorce wants, how does the person left alone cope with the sudden, and often unexpected, loss of the companion to whom

Emotional and Financial Asset Division in Divorce

Emotional and Financial Asset Division in Divorce

By Dr. Deborah Hecker
Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Dividing the money in divorce is fraught with emotional stress.
Untangling the financial and emotional weave of a couple’s life together as they go their separate ways through divorce adds months, or even years, to the divorce process.  Even as they navigate the legal terrain of divorce, each member of the couple must grapple with lifestyle changes, new budgets, and long-held views about money, family, and what happens to the money when the family is torn asunder.
Usually, a couple fighting over money during divorce has had their fair share of battles over the issue throughout the marriage.  But divorce adds to the mix because each member of the couple often wishes to be financially compensated for the emotional turmoil they suffered as the marriage unraveled.  For example, the partner being left frequently believes that she or he should receive a sort of “pain and suffering” payment, since the end of their marriage is “not my fault.”  Conversely, the partner who is leaving may feel entitled to a greater share of the marital assets in order to begin their new life if they’ve made significant lifestyle concessions to the other party.  Both parties usually see the marital home as more “mine” than “ours” for various emotional and financial reasons.
Divorce therapy can help resolve the intense emotional conflicts both parties suffer, helping the divorce to progress toward an equitable settlement that will allow each individual to get on with her or his life.  Conversely, one or both partners may use fights that are ostensibly over money to stall an unwanted divorce.  Couples with children may place them squarely in the middle of the battle, arguing over which parent will manage money for the kids and how it will be spent, and in that process creating collateral damage in the form of their children’s emotional health.
If divorcing parties don’t resolve their internal issues over emotions and money, these matters may cause problems in the years following the divorce, especially where children are involved.  Even couples without children often harbor bitterness towards one another regarding the other party’s perceived misuse of alimony and marital assets.  While their anger and resentment may be understandable, one or both parties may become stuck in a rut that prevents them from finding new happiness as single persons.
If divorce therapy is still not sought at this point, divorced individuals often carry heavily-loaded emotional baggage concerning finances into their new relationships.  The new partner is often surprised at the degree to which she or he is viewed with suspicion and mistrust when the relationship is still new and unproven.  Projection of an ex’s negative qualities onto a new partner has caused the demise of many fledgling relationships and can even result in yet another divorce down the road.
Given the potential pain that could be lessened or avoided, participating in divorce therapy sessions becomes an excellent investment in the future of a divorcing individual.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Health Insurance after Divorce

Making Decisions on Your Health Plan

According to leading financial expert and author, Neale Godfrey, 85 percent of women make their financial decisions in times of crisis. Significant life changes like a separation or divorce typically bring about a period of personal and financial reassessment. Protecting your health insurance is an important part of any financial plan.
All too often, divorce can result in the loss of health insurance. Because women more frequently depend on their spouses for coverage, they are usually at a higher risk for losing health insurance. In times of transition, reviewing your coverage needs is essential. According to a Plan for Your HealthSM survey of women ages 24-44, recently separated, divorced or widowed women actually spent less time reviewing their health plan options than other women. Only eight percent of women experiencing this type of life change in the past year said they spent two or more hours researching health plans.
Here are some tips on ways to consider your choices:
  • Whether or not you choose to continue on your ex-spouse's plan, it is important to have medical coverage in place quickly, without interruption.
  • Many divorced parents list their children as dependents on each individual plan, one plan serving as "primary" and the other as "secondary." Primary pays the cost of the claims first; secondary takes care of the remaining costs.
    • If your children are covered through both of your group plans (not always the best idea because of the double cost), primary coverage is through the spouse with the earliest birthday, or a group plan takes precedence over an individual plan.
    • Getting a "Qualified Medical Child Support Order" can help you deal directly with the insurance plan for claims instead of through your spouse.
  • You may be eligible to purchase non-group insurance, COBRA, or the right to temporarily continue health coverage at the previous group rate.
  • Typically, you are able to continue coverage for up to 36 months; however, the individual is responsible for the full cost of COBRA premiums without help from their previous employer.
Here are some other financial and insurance tips to consider with a divorce:
  • Spouses who will be paying child support should have enough life insurance for themselves in order to secure court-ordered obligations. The key here is for the other spouse to make sure the insured doesn't change beneficiaries or simply drop the policy without notice (don't forget policies at the workplace).
  • Many divorce experts recommend that the person providing child support payments have enough disability coverage in order to continue payments in the event of a temporary or permanent disability. And, the person taking care of the children also should have coverage, assuming he or she works. Review the policy to see whether you need to increase the amount.
  • If you are not a "named insured" on your homeowner's insurance policy, your personal possessions won't be covered once you divorce. And if you move out of the house before the divorce, generally insurers will limit coverage of your personal possessions to only 10% of their covered value, even if you are a named insured.
Written by Aetna Life Inusrance Company