Health Benefits After Divorce

“What will happen to my health benefits after divorce?” is a question family law and divorce lawyers often hear.  The typical answer is that the question of whether you receive benefits depends on the language of the benefit contract.  Many benefit policies limit spousal benefits to married couples.  Some allow unmarried couples to remain on benefits.  We recommend contacting the benefit provider and asking the question.

In Baginski v. Baginskithe couple separated and entered into a separation agreement that agreed that both parties would maintain their respective medical, extended health and dental coverage through employment for as long as it is available.   Further, the agreement provided that the wife would obtain an uncontested divorce.

The wife sought an order to proceed with a divorce and to sever the divorce from the other issues of the Application, but the husband opposed on the basis that after a divorce he would no longer be eligible under the wife’s medical benefits.

Rule 12(6) of the Ontario Family Law Rules allows a splitting of issues and splitting of divorce from other issues if neither spouse will be disadvantaged by the order and reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of the children.   The wife agreed to an order requiring her to maintain the husband on medical and dental coverage and pay for any expenses not covered.  As such the paragraph in the separation agreement that required the wife to maintain the husband on medical benefits for as long as it is available to her for his benefits could not be interpreted to prevent the wife from obtaining a divorce.  Such an interpretation would be inconsistent with the paragraph that allows the wife to obtain a divorce.

The court went on to say that Rule 12(6) only provides legal justification for delaying divorce in cases where a spouse would be deprived of a legal claim for spousal support or children’s special expenses.

As such the court granted the order for divorce. Loss of benefits was not enough to stop the splitting of the divorce from the other issues.

If you have questions about your medical benefits, dental coverage, health coverage, benefit plan upon separation or divorce, contact Windsor family law lawyers Mary Fox, Tanya McNevin or Thomas MacKay today by calling 519-259-1820.   We serve clients in Windsor, Tecumseh, Lasalle, Essex, Leamington, Kingsville, Belle River, Lakeshore, and throughout southern Ontario.

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