As a result of the recent tummult in Washington DC married couples are avoiding getting divorced in fear that their health coverage will also get terminated. The health care uncertainty in Washington, D.C. is causing some separating couples to press pause on their divorces, financial planners and divorce attorneys say.
Indeed, some couples have put their divorces on ice until there’s more clarity out of Washington, D.C . For some, that means staying married and entering into a post-nuptial agreement that leaves them legally together but spells out the separation of assets and terms of a possible future divorce. For others, that means finalizing divorce papers but holding off on sending them to the courts for processing. A decade ago, it was common for couples to get a legal separation instead of a divorce if they wanted a spouse to retain coverage. But that avenue has largely closed, as companies no longer allow a legally separated spouse to stay on their employer plan, says Andrew Vaughn, a Chicago divorce attorney and founder of NuVorce.
Because this country is one of the only developed nations where coverage is tied to employment and, often, marital status, health insurance has always been a factor in American divorces. Even before President Donald Trump’s election last November threatened the future of the ACA, couples with a non-working spouse in the midst of chemotherapy tended to stick together for fear of upending treatment, says John Slowiaczek, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.