There are many different types of life insurance policies available to provide a level of financial security for your loved ones. While the type of policy you choose should be based on your needs and those of your family, the intended result of each is similar: upon your death, your chosen beneficiaries will receive the proceeds of the policy, known as death benefits. Life insurance can be instrumental in protecting your family from financial hardship in the event of an accident or unforeseen tragedy, but, in a divorce situation, it can also serve another purpose. By agreement or by order of the court, a life insurance policy may be used to guarantee payment of spousal maintenance and child support.
Spousal Maintenance Security
Unless otherwise addressed, a party’s obligation to pay spousal support ends upon the death of either party. Of course, if you have been ordered to make maintenance payments, your untimely death could leave your ex-spouse in dire financial circumstances. There are several life insurance options available to prevent such a situation. If you already have a life insurance policy, the court may order that a percentage of the available death benefits should be allocated to your former spouse. In doing so, the court may also divide responsibility for making the premium payments.
If a new life insurance policy is needed to secure maintenance, the court cannot require you, as the paying party, to purchase one. Instead, the court may order you to cooperate with your ex-spouse as he or she buys a new policy on your life. In this situation, you would not be responsible for the premium payments, nor would you be the owner of the policy. Your former partner would also have the authority to designate beneficiaries as he or she sees fit. The death benefits available may be limited by the court to an amount deemed reasonable, based upon the maintenance awarded.
Child Support Considerations
Similarly, a court can also require a supporting parent to maintain a life insurance policy as a guarantee of child support. In most such cases, the court will order that the child or children are to be named beneficiaries on the policy until the obligation for support has ended. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that premium payments for ordered life insurance policies are not considered part of the paying parent’s net income. Therefore, if you are required to carry a life insurance policy to secure future child support, your current obligations may be reduced by a percentage to reflect your premium payments.
If you have additional questions about how life insurance policies and death benefits may be used to secure spousal maintenance or child support, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney. Our team can help you find a creative solution that meets your needs while fully protecting your financial future. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule your free initial consultation today.