Can my spouse remove me from his/her insurance policies pending the divorce? This is a common question asked by both potential clients and current clients. In situations where a divorce is acrimonious, there is always one party who is seeking to remove the other party from his/her automobile insurance or health insurance, or as a beneficiary of his/her life insurance policy. This conduct is unacceptable in the Court’s eyes as both spouses need to maintain the status quo pending the divorce. Any changes to the insurance policies are usually viewed as the person engaging in inappropriate conduct unless they have a valid explanation for the changes. The Court Rules provide that there should be no interruptions in any insurances pending the divorce.
When filing a Complaint for Divorce or a Counterclaim for Divorce in New Jersey, an affidavit or certification of insurance coverage needs to be simultaneously filed with the Court as part of your pleadings. As to the affidavit or certification of insurance coverage, New Jersey Court Rule 5:4-2(f) reads in pertinent part: “The affidavit shall…specify whether any insurance coverage was canceled or modified within the ninety days preceding its date and, if so, a description of the cancelled insurance coverage.” The Rule continues that “[i]nsurance coverage identified in the affidavit shall be maintained pending further order of the Court”. R. 5:4-2(f). Therefore, both parties will ultimately need to certify that no changes have made to any of his/her insurances for ninety (90) days prior to the filing. If your spouse drops you from his/her insurance policies either after the divorce complaint is filed or ninety (90) days prior to the filing of the divorce complaint, you have the right to immediately file an emergent application with the Court requesting that the original insurance be immediately reinstated and/or that you remain listed as beneficiary on the spouse’s life insurance policy. If you are the party thinking about removing your spouse from any of your insurance policies, speak to an experienced attorney first as you do not want to commence the litigation by leaving a sour taste in the Judge’s mouth!