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Split Time: Kids, Custody And Insurance





If you're divvying up assets and liabilities during a divorce settlement, you'll also have to think about how to split insurance coverage for your kids.

Arranging health insurance is usually fairly smooth sailing during divorce proceedings, but reaching an agreement on car insurance can face stiff headwinds, says James McGinnis, a partner in the Atlanta family law firm of Warner, Bates, McGough & McGinnis. (See: "Love hurts: 5 insurance heartaches.")

Health insurance tends to be a breeze because "one parent will be obligated to provide health insurance for minor children," McGinnis says.

That will typically fall to the parent who has historically been responsible for providing health insurance for the children, he says, and normally couples will have made that decision based on whichever parent has the better health insurance coverage.

Payments for those medical expenses that aren't covered by health insurance are divided between the parents.  In the past, the costs routinely had been shared 50-50, McGinnis says.

But these days it's more likely that the parents will pay those bills in proportion to their individual incomes. So if Dad is the main breadwinner and Mom still works part time, he may pay 80 percent of the cost and she'll pick up the remaining 20 percent.

Things can get more complicated if parents share custody of the children and one parent moves out of state.

If the health insurance company that typically covers the children doesn't write insurance policies in the new state, it will be up to the parents to figure out how to get health insurance coverage for the children in the new state, and then they'll likely head back to court to work out the details.

"The cost of (health) insurance is always factored into the child support that is paid," McGinnis says.

And parents need to keep in mind that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, their children can remain on their health insurance policies until they reach the age of 26, regardless of whether the adult children are eligible to be covered by another health insurance plan, McGinnis says.

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