Does my life insurance policy still go to my ex-spouse?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2023 | High-Asset Divorce |

If you are going through a divorce in Alexandria, Virginia, you may have questions about how your life insurance policy is affected by the process. Depending on your situation, you may want to keep your ex-spouse as a beneficiary of your policy, or you may want to change it to someone else.

Virginia does not have an automatic revocation

Unlike some other states, Virginia does not automatically revoke your ex-spouse’s beneficiary status on your life insurance policy when you get divorced. This means that if you do not change your beneficiary designation after your divorce, your ex-spouse may still receive the death benefit of your policy if you pass away. This could be a problem if you have remarried, have children from another relationship or simply do not want your ex-spouse to inherit your life insurance money.

Court orders

In some cases, the court may order you to maintain or obtain a life insurance policy for the benefit of your ex-spouse as part of the spousal support award. This is to ensure that your ex-spouse will continue to receive financial support in the event of your death. The court may also order you to pay for the premiums of the policy and to keep your ex-spouse informed of the status of the policy.

The court may modify or terminate the order for life insurance upon a material change of circumstances. This can be a change in marital status of either spouse or upon the termination of the spousal support obligation.

Court order factors

The court will consider several factors when deciding whether to order a life insurance policy for spousal support purposes. These include the age, health and insurability of the insured party, in addition to the age and health of the beneficiary spouse. They also factor the cost of the life insurance policy, amount and term of the spousal support award and the prevailing insurance rates at the time of the order. Finally, the courts look to the ability of either spouse to pay the premium cost of the life insurance and any other factors that the court deems relevant.

Life insurance is a complex and important issue in divorce cases. Changing or canceling your life insurance policy without proper legal advice could have serious consequences for you and your ex-spouse. For example, you could be in violation of a court order, lose valuable coverage or expose yourself to liability.