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Divorce and Life Insurance Policies

When the decision is made to dissolve a marriage, many factors must be accounted for. You and your spouse will have to determine the rights to assets owned prior to marriage, assets bought together during marriage, support rights, child custody if children are under 18 years old, as well as different policies and accounts you planned for together. If you and your spouse named one another in life insurance policies or for retirement savings accounts for the benefit of the other, there are additional steps you will need to take after the divorce decree was entered in order to have that policy apply to other interested parties.

Divorce Decrees

Once a divorce decree is entered in court, each spouse legally now has separate assets and rights that the other spouse no longer has any vested interest in.

However, there are certain assets that must be changed by the spouses after the divorce that does not automatically terminate upon the dissolution of the marriage, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

Life Insurance Policies

While your former spouse’s rights to your estate terminate upon the marriage ending, life insurance policies do not work the same way. Divorce does not automatically revoke listed beneficiaries from receiving life insurance benefits upon your death. When taking out a life insurance policy, it is common to name your spouse as the beneficiary, and if you have children, your children in the event your spouse is also not alive.

Once the divorce decree is finalized, you must notify your insurance company so that they can revoke your former spouse from receiving life insurance benefits. Failing to do so can result in the insurance company releasing the funds to the listed beneficiary, your former spouse, without liability. Some families who have minor children together will leave the former spouse as the beneficiary if the relationship is amicable, however, if it is not, you do not want the former spouse receiving proceeds after your death.

Almost all life insurance policies are revocable, meaning you can alter them during your lifetime and change who will receive the policy in the event of your death. This is also an important consideration if you are entering into a second marriage. Amending the policy to name your new spouse is important because while a court will recognize your most recent marriage, they will not amend your life insurance policy in the event you failed to.

Considering a Divorce?

Divorce can be a highly stressful time and is something you should not go through alone. The experienced legal team at Lawrence Law Office will work with you to help you sort out what you deserve and make sure you get what you are entitled to. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 614-228-3664 for a consultation or email us at

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