Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I Would Like To Change In Divorce - Health Insurance, Mortgages, and Country Club Memberships

After working with divorcing clients for 30 years, I have a list of items which I would like to change and feel are inherently unfair. The first item is health insurance. When a couple divorces in every state I am aware of other than Massachusetts and Rhode Island, if a couple has family health insurance coverage, one of the parties must get individual coverage and one can keep the existing policy. Often this means the cost of health insurance doubles. All states should have the Massachusetts model which allows divorced parties to stay on the family coverage until one of the parties remarries. The second item is mortgages. When married couples get a mortgage to buy a home, they are both usually named on the mortgage. This is the case even when the mortgage is based on only one income. When the couple divorces and one party keeps the home, the bank will not usually allow the party who no longer owns the home to be taken off the mortgage. This requires the person who retains the home to refinance at a greater cost in order to remove the other party from the mortgage. If the person who retains the house otherwise qualifies, the bank should allow the parties to remove the name of the person from mortgage who is not retaining the home. Finally, country club memberships. When couples divorce, country clubs usually do not allow the couple to split the membership. Only the husband or wife is allowed to retain the membership. I often have a problem where only one party can take their children to the country club. If it is the father who retains the membership and the mother takes the children, she must drop them off and leave them unsupervised. All of the issues are currently decided in what is the best financial interest of the health insurance company, the bank, or the country club. The issues should be determined on what is the best interest of families. You can post a comment by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 2/26/08

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