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Health care uncertainty leads to divorce postponements

Texas residents who have preexisting conditions or other concerns about health care and who are in an unhappy marriage may be postponing a divorce in order to ensure that their access to health care continues if the Affordable Care Act is repealed by Congress. The ACA came into full effect in 2014, and one of its provisions was that it prevented insurance companies from denying coverage to or requiring higher payments from people with preexisting conditions. Since it is unclear what will replace the ACA, it is possible that this situation could return in which people are unable to obtain insurance or can only do so at a very high cost. A 2012 study found that 115,000 women per year lost private health insurance as a result of their divorce.

Some people who are contemplating a divorce have completed all the necessary paperwork but have not filed it. Couples might also opt for creating a postnuptial agreement. This can specify how property will be divided in an eventual divorce. One solution for couples used to be a legal separation, but many companies no longer allow coverage for those separated spouses of company plan participants.

If the divorce is one in which spousal support will be awarded, health insurance premiums could be an issue here as well. Health care costs may be included in alimony calculations, but the uncertainty means estimates can be difficult.

People who are considering divorce might want to weigh health insurance and other factors. There could be other solutions as well. For example, the couple may agree to delay the divorce until one finds a job with employer-sponsored health insurance. If the divorce is delayed, especially a high-asset divorce, a postnuptial agreement could be particularly important in a community property state like Texas. An attorney can often assist a client in preparing one.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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