When divorcing, it is common practice for parties to secure their alimony and/or child support obligations by agreeing to carry a certain amount of life insurance. Typically, the parties will agree to take out a specific amount of life insurance on their lives, naming their former spouse or children as the beneficiaries, and periodically provide proof that they are paying the premiums.
Problems can occur, however, when one spouse does not maintain the life insurance policy and does not disclose that he/she has allowed the life insurance policy to lapse. By the time the lapse in insurance is discovered, it may be too late to do anything about it. For instance, if proof of life insurance is only required annually or semi-annually, it may be several months before the lapse is discovered.
One solution to this problem is for each spouse to own a life insurance policy on the other spouse’s life. By owning the policy, that owner-spouse has control over the policy and will be notified of any changes in terms and premiums. This approach, however, has its drawbacks. By owning the policy, the premium will be billed to the owner-spouse. Thus, the owner-spouse will need to be reimbursed by the insured-spouse for the cost of the premium. Should the insured-spouse fail to make reimbursement, the owner-spouse will have the burden of seeking enforcement and payment.
Nevertheless, the advantage to the owner-spouse is clear: the life insurance policy will remain in place, without a lapse or irreplaceable loss of coverage. As such, parties going through a divorce should give serious thought to owning a life insurance policy on their former spouse’s life.
If you are considering a divorce, an experienced attorney can advise you regarding a fair support settlement as well as guide you in protecting your support payments. Contact us for a consultation to learn how we can help you get the best result in your case.