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Could Divorce from Bed and Board and Continued Health Care Coverage Be a Thing of the Past?

By Snyder & Sarno on June 25, 2013


Divorce from Bed and Board are finally themselves being utilized more and more as a result of the economy and rising cost of individual insurance.  A divorce from bed and board is not a final judgment of divorce which means the parties separate and distribute their marital property between one another, but remain legally married. This cause of action is used primarily to allow the parties to continue to maintain health insurance benefits for one another after divorce. However, a new bill has been proposed in the New Jersey Assembly which would limit the ability for divorcing couples to continue to do this.

 

 If Assembly Bill Number 3763 were adopted, it would prevent healthcare benefits plans that are paid for in whole or in part by a public employer to cover an employee’s spouse who is divorced from the bed and board of the employee. The bill accomplishes this by amending multiple laws which provide for coverage to dependents or spouses, excluding from the definition of dependent and spouse “any spouse during the time that a judgment for divorce from bed and board shall remain in force and effect.”

 

 The bill also affects legally separated civil union partners, by excluding from the above definitions “any person to whom a judgment for legal separation from a partner in a civil union shall remain in force and effect.”

 

If this proposed legislation becomes law, then at least for spouses of public employees, a divorce from bed and board will no longer provide the insurance benefits that it has in the past. Check back with our blog, and we will be sure to keep you updated on whether and when this bill is adopted.

 

As always, if you have questions about your divorce, contact Snyder & Sarno at (973) 274-5200.

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