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When people are ready to end their marriages, they may be eager to go straight to filing the divorce papers. This is particularly true when the two parties can’t find common ground on important areas of their marriage, such as the finances. However, timing plays an important part in filing for divorce in California, particularly for an individual who depends on his or her spouse for health insurance.

For instance, one reason a person may wish to delay a divorce has to do with the couple’s health insurance situation. One person may be either uninsured or uninsurable, and may thus be depending on the other party’s health insurance policy to meet his or her health needs. In addition, the cost of health insurance might prohibit one spouse from divorcing and pursuing his or her own policy.

This is because insurance may cost as much as $1,000 per month for a healthy person who is middle-aged. For a person with health problems, the number could be much higher. Premiums for health insurance policies have increased by 11 percent in the market for small group insurance. In addition, they've increased by 12 percent in today’s individual market.

Sometimes, two spouses are actually willing to separate and live in two different houses but stay married just so that they can maintain their joint insurance. However, a divorce settlement in California can include the provision of health insurance along with marital assets and property, based on what the two spouses decide in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or while at the negotiating table. A judge may also make a call on these areas if neither party is willing to agree with the other party’s point of view in California.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "When's the worst time to get a divorce?", Quentin Fottrell, May 24, 2014

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