Divorce and the Affordable Care Act

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January 30, 2014

When we think about getting a divorce, we often think about how we will separate what we own and how we will pay our debts. For instance many people often have questions as to which monthly bills they must continue to pay while a divorce is pending. In Oregon, the law provides guidelines and restrictions regarding ongoing costs during a divorce.

Let’s use health insurance as an example.

With the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, the landscape of health insurance is changing. In the past, a spouse with a serious medical condition might have faced increased insurance and medical costs if she were to lose coverage on her husband’s policy. Private health insurance would come at a high premium, and some insurers might not even provide coverage. Oregon law protects people in this position with a financial restraining order that prevents parties to a divorce from allowing health insurance coverage to lapse for nonpayment of premiums. In this scenario, the husband is restrained from letting the wife’s health insurance coverage lapse while the divorce is pending.

Now, private health insurance has become more accessible for many people. The same spouse might have an easier time finding affordable health insurance coverage independent of her husband. Even so, the financial restraining order still exists. It is not okay to stop paying for your spouse’s health insurance until your divorce is finalized.

The financial restraining order doesn’t just cover health insurance. It also covers homeowners insurance, life insurance, and car insurance. If you are not sure about what expenses you should keep paying during your divorce, it is always best to seek the advice of an attorney.