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Health Insurance after divorce --Massachusetts specifically.

Revere, MA |

I am remarrying, which means I can get on my new spouse's insurance with my daughter. My ex is currently on my work plan. My questions are four:

-How much notice do I have to legally give my ex?
-How does she get a rider to remain on my employer's plan per our separation agreement?
-Is there any way she can prevent my daughter from getting on my new wife's plan?
-Where can I find specific legislation on this?

Thank you so much in advance!!

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Attorney answers 5


Check your separation

Check your separation agreement, it will most likely dictate what you have to do with regard to insurance for your ex. The issues you raise are all valid concerns and will need to be addressed. Best of Luck to you.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


There are a few issues in your question.

First, you are bound by your seperation agreement; if it states you are to provide health insurance for you wife you are legally obligated to do so. However, typically there will be a stipulation that if you can not provide insurance for any reason or the cost is additional then she may pay it. Though, every seperation agreement is different.

Some insurance plans will not insure former spouses, some have added requirements. You will need to review the insurance plan documents and those of your new wife's plan.

You may be able to modify the agreement, depending on how it was entered on your divorce.

Unfortunately, I think most of your issues will depend on the specifics of your situation as opposed to some legislation. You would be well served by contacting a family law lawyer and getting the specifics as they apply to you.


These are generic informational answers, not to be construed as legal advice or creating an Attorney client relationship. If you have a legal issue, you should always consult an Attorney in your jurisdiction. You wouldn't ask a surgeon to talk you through a heart transplant via email, don't expect to do the same with a legal matter.


Thank you for your question, and congratulations to you and your fiance.

Your separation agreement states your obligations with respect to providing insurance for your ex-wife. Most likely, it does not permit you to drop your ex-wife from insurance simply by providing notice to her. In the event that your separation agreement does not contemplate a situation like this, you may need to revisit it. Take your separation agreement or divorce decree to an attorney for review.

Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, and obtain advice and review of your specific legal issue, please call us today at 617-357-4898 or visit us at



It says I should notify her "in advance" if her coverage is to be modified. Pretty vague. I asked the judge if when I remarry I can get on my new spouse's insurance and she said yes. That once I remarry, my ex is off. But I'd like more than a verbal "yes" you know?

Christopher W. Vaughn-Martel

Christopher W. Vaughn-Martel


Without reading your divorce decree as a whole, I can't provide you with any meaningful advice. Generally, however, you can either notify here and make the change unilaterally or go back to court and seek permission or a modification based on change of circumstances. The former may make you the defendant in a contempt proceeding, and the latter may be overkill if there is no real dispute. First things first, discuss with your ex-wife.


I will answer each question.

Question 1: Look to your Separation Agreement in regards to how much notice you must provide your ex. You certainly cannot unilaterally terminate her health insurance coverage. There is not "legislation" in regards to how much notice you must provide to her, this notice requirement should be spelled out in your Agreement.

Question 2: Again, there is not legal guidance here to provide. You should contact your current insurance provider and determine how this is done. No lawyer or court can give you advice on this. This is something you must do on your own. Contact your health insurance provider and figure this out ASAP.

Question 3: Doubtful, but not out of the realm of possibility. Look to the Separation Agreement. If your daughter's new health insurance plan is substantially worse than her current plan, then I could see your ex making efforts to stop this transfer from occurring. However, so long as you providing health insurance that is of equal coverage to your daughter, I am certain no court would stop such a transfer. Further, why would your ex care, so long as the coverage is similar.

Question 4: There is no specific "legislation" on this. Again, read your Separation Agreement, contact your current health insurance provider, and work in good faith with your ex to make certain this transfer happens seamlessly.

Good luck.

Anthony Rao


I agree with the answers of the other attorneys. Regardless of the requirements of the Separation Agreement, you should give her as much notice as possible. Notify her today.

THIS COMMUNICATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE CREATION OF AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. Legal rights vary greatly depending on specific facts, and it is impossible on the basis of the recitation of a few facts to determine whether or not an individual has a viable case, what is the full range of options, or what limitations exist which may bar an individual's potential claims. ON THE BASIS OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO ME, I RECOMMEND THAT YOU PROMPTLY CONSULT AN ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE THE SCOPE OF LEGAL RECOURSE, IF ANY, YOU MAY HAVE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON ANYTHING I HAVE STATED AS ADVICE TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY TO DISCUSS FULLY AN APPROPRIATE COURSE OF ACTION.

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