Life Insurance and Divorce Settlements

Our life insurance attorneys work with ex-spouses and beneficiaries of life insurance policies whose payout has been delayed or unfairly denied after divorce.

Many issues with life insurance arise after a divorce. The laws controlling divorce and life insurance are complex and confusing, even more so if the life insurance policy is a group policy and is governed by federal laws.  

At our law firm, we work to protect your rights and will help you understand the legal intricacies involved in the process of claiming the payout. Call (888) 510-2212 to speak with one of our life insurance lawyers. We offer free, no-obligation consultations.

Our Experience in Handling Life Insurance and Divorce Cases

We have helped many ex-spouses who have had difficulties collecting the life insurance payout they are rightfully entitled to. Our life insurance attorneys have years of experience helping spouses and ex-spouses navigate the interplay of state and federal life insurance and family law. They have worked on cases involving but not limited to the following circumstances:

Here are a few cases that our lawyers have successfully handled:

When the insurance company informs you that you do not have a right to claim the policy proceeds, you need to consult with an experienced life insurance attorney. Often, insurance company agents reviewing your claim do not determine correctly what law controls the case and may wrongfully deny your benefits. With a life insurance lawyer on your side, you will be able to overturn the denial and collect the policy death benefits.

How Our Life Insurance Lawyers Can Help Win Your Case

In many cases of several competing claimants, the insurer may file an interpleader. An interpleader is a court proceeding initiated by the insurance company presented with two or more competing claims for the life insurance money. To improve your chances of winning, you need an experienced life insurance attorney on your side. 

At Kadetskaya Law Firm, we will protect your rights. Our life insurance attorneys can offer legal advice during all stages of the divorce process and have considerable experience in:

  • Helping clients understand their life insurance beneficiary rights after divorce;
  • Assisting individuals going through divorce with protecting their life insurance designations from automatic revocation laws after divorce;  
  • Consulting individuals going through divorce regarding preserving their life insurance policies. 

Call our law firm now if you think there may be several claimants to the life insurance proceeds. We offer free consultations.

Life Insurance Attorney Fee

Our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. It means that we do not charge legal fees unless we collect the life insurance death benefit for you. Only then will we charge a reasonable legal fee. We take pride in offering competitive contingent fee structures and will work with you to ensure you are comfortable with the fee. If your claim has been denied or delayed, call our life insurance lawyers for help.

Call (888) 510-2212 for a free, confidential consultation. We have the experience you can trust.

Below we will address some of the most frequent legal questions we get from beneficiaries who need help with their life insurance claims after the divorce:

Life Insurance And Divorce Settlements FAQ

Is Life Insurance a Marital Asset?

There is no universal rule on who receives life insurance after divorce. Whether a life insurance policy is considered marital property in a divorce depends on several factors:

  • the type of policy, whole or term life insurance policy;
  • whether the policy is group or individual; 
  • whether the policy was issued before or after marriage; 
  • where the couple lived;
  • whether the state is a common law or a community property state.

Is Whole Life Insurance Considered a Marital Asset?

Permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage and accumulates cash value over time, adding to the policy’s value. If the policyowner paid premiums on a whole life insurance policy during the marriage, it could be listed among the marital assets to be divided during divorce. The cash value from a life insurance policy represents part of the couple’s net worth.

How the court splits the life insurance proceeds from a whole life insurance policy will depend upon whether the marital assets are subject to equal or equitable distribution. However, this varies from state to state. In a divorce where marital assets are divided evenly, each spouse leaves the marriage with half the cash value from the policy.

Is Term Life Insurance Considered a Marital Asset in Divorce Settlements?

Term life insurance policies offer affordable coverage for a set period and have no present cash value. Therefore, they are not considered marital assets to be divided during divorce. Instead, term life insurance pays out a fixed sum only if and when the insured dies within the policy’s term and as long as the policy is active. Term life insurance purchased after the couple’s marriage with community money is usually considered community property.

Community Property States Where Life Insurance Qualifies as a Marital Asset

In community property states, the time of acquisition and the source of the funds used to pay the premiums usually determine the nature of the property. The policyowner and their spouse own the assets acquired during the marriage if they live in a community property state. Therefore, a life insurance policy qualifies as a marital asset if it was purchased after marriage and the premiums were paid with funds earned during the marriage. 

There are currently nine community property states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

The intricacies of community property laws could lead to life insurance beneficiary disputes between the policyowner’s surviving spouse and their ex-spouse. Life Insurance beneficiary contests are complex and it is best to seek legal counsel. At our law firm, we strive to get the most favorable result for our clients in the fastest and least expensive way. Our life insurance attorneys will help you determine the best way to a successful beneficiary contest.

Is a Life Insurance Policy a Marital Asset in Common Law States?

In common law states, term life insurance policies are generally treated as separate property, no matter when acquired. However, whole life insurance policies are generally considered marital property to be split upon divorce, and the cash value is subject to equitable distribution.

Can You Stay as a Beneficiary on Your Ex-Spouse’s Life Insurance Policy?

Yes, you can. The named beneficiary of a life insurance policy does not automatically change following a divorce unless it is subject to automatic revocation laws. Many states have enacted automatic revocation laws that automatically remove a former spouse as a life insurance beneficiary after divorce. Policies governed by federal laws preserving ex-spouses’ designations will not be subject to state law automatic revocation.

How Automatic Revocation-Upon-Divorce Laws Affect Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations

Revocation-upon-divorce statutes are laws that automatically remove an ex-spouse as a life insurance beneficiary after a divorce. The revocation statute applies to policies governed by state laws, but does not apply to those governed by federal laws such as ERISA. Our lawyers dive deeper into these statues in our article about an ex-spouse’s life insurance beneficiary rights after divorce.

It is important to mention that a will does not supersede or override a beneficiary designation on a life insurance policy. Whomever the policyholder designates as the beneficiary to their life insurance gets that money regardless of who the policyholder named in their will. You can read more about this in our blog post about life insurance beneficiary vs. will.

If you are unsure about your life insurance beneficiary rights as an ex-spouse or have questions about whether life insurance should be treated as a marital asset due to an upcoming divorce, consult with an experienced life insurance lawyer at our firm. Call us now at (888) 510-2212 or submit a form for a free case evaluation.

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