Ending important personal relationships is hard for everyone involved. Unfortunately, some people take out their frustration and anger on their spouse, attempting to hurt them in various ways. Negative emotions sometimes even lead one spouse to change or cancel health or life insurance, often covertly. Fortunately, the California State Legislature has enacted laws to help prevent insurance revenge.
Imagine that while your divorce proceedings are pending, you become ill and go to the doctor. A workup is in order, so you go immediately to have blood work done, as well as a radiology test. Your health insurance denies coverage, sticking you with all the bills, because your vindictive, soon-to-be-ex removed you from his health insurance. The same thing could happen with a life insurance policy: you could be removed as a beneficiary from the policy. The California laws are intended to prevent these things from happening.
First, when a petition for divorce is filed, on the back of the summons is an automatic temporary restraining order that disallows a party from altering “life, health, automobile, or disability insurance.”
Second, California Family Code §§ 2050-2053 provide a mechanism that judges or parties to divorce proceedings may use to get insurance companies involved. The statute applies to health, life, and disability insurance coverage for spouses and children.
In essence, this second law allows a party to a proceeding or a judge to send a notice to an insurance company letting the company know that the ownership or benefits of a policy it has issued may be affected by a pending divorce proceeding. The notice advises the company that it must maintain the policy of ownership, beneficiaries, and covered dependents as they currently are until it receives an official document notifying it otherwise.
These laws provide important protections to prevent a spouse from changing or canceling insurance to the other spouse’s detriment. However, even with these laws in place, people are sometimes still successful in altering insurance. When this happens, it is critical to work with an experienced family lawyer who can schedule a quick hearing to protect or reinstate your insurance rights. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience in divorce matters, including property and insurance issues. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.