When you are in the midst of a divorce, an order for your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to pay you alimony and/or child support is often a welcome relief. Finally, you might think, your financial situation will improve and things in your life can go back to normal. In this situation, you are not likely to look too far into the future. However, particularly in cases in which your ex has a high income and rather hefty support orders, you really need to consider how to protect you and your family should the unthinkable occur, either now or in the not-so-distance future. Requiring your ex to maintain life insurance policies in certain amounts and for a fixed duration of time can be key to ensuring that you receive all of the support to which you and your children are entitled.
Life Insurance Provisions in Your Settlement Agreement
Negotiating a settlement agreement in your divorce is often difficult and time-consuming. There are many details to include, and it is often hard to anticipate every event that could happen in the future. Nonetheless, South Carolina law allows judges to order an individual to maintain life insurance in certain situations. For instance, your ex may be required to maintain a life insurance policy on which you are listed as the beneficiary and for the amount of alimony and child support obligations that you would expect to receive in the future. In order to ensure that your ex maintains the required life insurance policy, you also can require him or her to provide you with proof and/or information related to that policy on a periodic basis. Likewise, your agreement should contain a provision that prohibits your ex from allowing the policy to lapse or be cancelled or prevents him or her from changing the beneficiary. Having a provision like this in your settlement agreement can help guarantee that you still will receive necessary financial support from your ex, even if he or she passes away.
Avoid Making Common Mistakes with Respect to Life Insurance
A Huffington Post article details some common mistakes to avoid when including life insurance in your divorce settlement agreement. First, figure out how much financial support you need to raise your children or survive on your own, assuming that your ex is no longer able to provide you with court-ordered support due to death. You generally should have sufficient coverage to allow you to pay off your mortgage and any major debts, as well as put your children through college. Another common problem occurs when your ex decides to change the beneficiary designation on the life insurance policy, and you don’t know about the change until it is too late. One way to solve this issue is for you to actually be the owner of the policy. This type of provision allows you to be the owner and beneficiary of the policy, while your ex is the insured person and is responsible for paying the premiums. This prevents your ex from changing the beneficiary on the policy.
Contact an Attorney Now
The team at the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC, knows how crucial future alimony and child support payments can be to your long-term financial situation, as well as to your ability to support yourself and your children. Do not allow an oversight in your settlement agreement to adversely affect your financial future. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family in the event that tragedy strikes. Don’t take chances with your finances. Call your experienced South Carolina divorce attorney today and set up an appointment in order to discuss how to best protect the financial support that you need and deserve.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.