Many of my clients in Houston and College Station are facing a health insurance answer during their divorce. They are unemployed and rely on their soon-to-be-ex spouse for health insurance coverage. What to do if you are in that situation?
1. Find out if COBRA coverage is available under your spouse’s employer.
2. In Texas, there are two kinds of COBRA, federal and state. The former offers 36 months of coverage after divorce while the latter offers 18 months. Find out which one is applicable to your situation.
3. Get a quote on your cost of COBRA coverage from the employer.
4. Seek quotes on individual policies from an independent health insurance advisor. (If you need a referral in Houston, send me an email)
5. Compare the coverage and costs of the COBRA and the individual policies.
6. Be very careful with your timing when changing health insurance coverage from your current coverage to either COBRA or individual policy. Do not have even a day of lapse.
Most people want to put off this project. It seems intimidating. Break it down into these six steps. I cannot emphasize enough how important this issue is for your future financial security.
Dividing “stuff” in a divorce costs money even if you don’t make your attorney help you get custody of the five Norwegian wooden dolls. Stuff = household items, collectibles that are not of great financial value, tools, furniture, pots and pans, etc.
In the 12 years that I have been advising Texans on the financial issues of their divorces, I have seen about three couples who have dealt with their “stuff” without incurring a dime of professional fees. These couples had physically divided their personal property prior to hiring any professionals.
Most couples aren’t that organized. Some couples spend thousands of dollars fighting over things like the five Norwegian wooden dolls. I am sure those dolls are adorable, but they could have flown to Norway and picked up five, ten, even fifteen more dolls for less than the cost of the custody fight. Instead, these couples spend time (and money) pulling me and their attorneys into the fight. I have been to meetings where the attorneys try to talk the couple into sharing or just making a compromise on “stuff.” Those meetings cost those couples thousands of dollars.
If you are like most couples, you need money for retirement or college costs or both. Many individuals in divorce are worried about mounting legal fees. Live life with less “stuff” and hold onto your money.