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Can My Child Stay on My Spouse's Health Care Coverage after Divorce?

Can My Child Stay on My Spouse’s Health Care Coverage after Divorce?

The divorce of a child’s parents does not affect that child’s right to maintain health care coverage under one of the parent’s insurance plans. In fact, California law prohibits an employer or insurer from denying enrollment or coverage for a child based on certain outcomes of a divorce. Specifically, coverage may not be denied because the child is not claimed as a dependent for tax purposes or the child does not live with the parent or within the insurance coverage area.

Typically, as part of a divorce involving children, a court will include an order that one parent or the other maintain or provide health insurance coverage for the children, provided that the insurance is available at a reasonable cost. The amount that parties pay for insurance for themselves and their dependents (even new spouses and stepchildren) is an expense that is factored into child support calculations.  

Parents who have been ordered to maintain health insurance for children must provide the other parent with the health insurance information. Conversely, the parent not obligated to provide coverage must advise the obligated parent whether or not she has health insurance through her employer or other group insurance coverage. An obligated parent who is paying child support through a local child support agency (“LCSA”) must also provide documentation to the LCSA of such coverage.

California law also requires courts to include in their child support orders a provision that requires the parent providing coverage to affirmatively seek the continuation of coverage when a child reaches a disqualifying age. Such continuation, however, must be pursuant to other provisions of law that require continued coverage if the child is unable to work due to a physical or mental disability or is otherwise primarily dependent on the parent for support and maintenance.

If you want to learn more about health insurance for children of divorced parents or child support matters in California, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We can help. Call us today to make an appointment: (415) 293-8314.