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Life insurance can present problems after military divorce

Once the end is in sight, many Texas servicemembers are excited to move on with their lives and gain a fresh start. It is important to understand, however, that there are certain military divorce issues that can present problems long after the papers have been signed and filed. Life insurance is one example and is something that should be addressed directly within the divorce agreement.

One common issue lies in the requirement that one party maintain a life insurance policy that names either the former spouse or shared children as the beneficiaries. Both spouses might agree to such provisions during the course of the divorce, only to see things differently a few years down the line. Insurance can be expensive, and the spouse who is tasked with paying might decide to let the policy drop. That can require a return to court, which is another expensive proposition.

Another issue lies in making intentional changes to one's life insurance policy that are not required by the divorce agreement. Most spouses do not want to keep their former partner's name listed as a beneficiary unless required to do so. However, failure to update the policy with an extended beneficiary can result in an unintended inheritance. There have been many court cases in which a former spouse has received an insurance payout, even over the protest of a surviving spouse.

In order to ensure smooth sailing after a military divorce, Texas spouses should take the time to include life insurance expectations within their written agreement. That can reduce the risk of confusion or dissent down the line. If one party does not follow the agreement, having the terms clearly laid out can make it easier to re-approach the court to ask for enforcement.  

Source:, "Who wins under the law? A beneficiary on a life insurance policy or on a divorce decree?", Quentin Fottrell, May 28, 2017

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