The issues concerning divorce and health were discussed in the interview with Atty. Emily Doskow, the author of Essential Guide to Divorce (Nolo, 2006). She explained the various ways that couple divorce, how divorcing spouses can maintain health insurance for themselves and their children, how substance abuse problems is dealt with in divorce courts and how parents can help alleviate the effects of the divorce on their children. She also answered the questions on how the child’s health coverage is affected by a step parent adoption, what to do if the spouse is hiding assets and how bankruptcy affects spousal and child support. Furthermore, Atty. Emily Doskow suggested different ways to avoid stress in the legal process of divorce.
According to the author, there are different approaches to divorce settlements. From a non-contested divorce to the opposite end which is the sort of knock down drag out divorce trial, and in between are the other options like mediated divorce and collaborative divorce. She suggested that the most conducive to people’s mental and physical health is the mediated divorce because it promotes good communication and better relationship between parents.
In case where the divorcing non-employed spouse is insured under the employed spouse’s health insurance policy, the non-employed spouse has a legal right under Federal Law called COBRA Coverage to continue the insurance coverage for three years after the divorce is final, but on his/her own expense. On the other hand, the non-employee spouse can request that the COBRA payments be included as part of the spousal’s support payments. Since even after the divorce there is no change in the parent-child relationship, the children will continue to be covered under the employed spouse who has the health insurance coverage for the children.
When the mother remarries after the divorce and there’s a stepparent adoption, which is only possible if the biological father relinquished all his rights towards his children, then the biological father will not be responsible for support or health insurance of his children anymore.
If one of the parents has a substance abuse problem, the judge will order that he/she can only have supervised visitation with his/her children. The judge will order the person with problem to get treatment and be on recovery for a certain amount of time before supervision assignment is taken off.
Since divorce has an effect on child’s short-term and long-term health, the author stated that it is important to insulate the kids from the conflict between the parents. The parents should make the children understand that they are not losing either of them and that they are just restructuring their family.
There are studies that showed how a woman’s standard of living drops while men’s rises after the divorce and that this economic factor has an effect on health. One of the factors that causes the disparity is when a spouse hides his assets. The author suggested hiring a forensic accountant when someone suspects that this is happening.
The author claimed that spousal and child support are non dischargeable in bankruptcy, whether the spouse is filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
She acknowledged that after the divorce or custody settlement has been reached, it is common for there to be some equivalent of “buyer’s remorse.” She added that people make decisions for really valid reasons even if often times it doesn’t look like their best deal, she said that what is important is that the person is totally educated to make that decision.
Doskow, E. (2006, September 17). Is Divorce Bad For Your Health? Podcast retrieved from http://www.nolocast.com/wp-podcasts/43_Is_Divorce_Bad_For_Your_Health.mp3