My husband and I are getting divorced. How do we decide whose health insurance policy will cover the children?


As parents, both of you will want to keep the best interests of your children in mind. That means you should compare your health plan with your spouse’s health plan and determine which one offers the most comprehensive health coverage and flexibility in choosing health-care providers.

Your ultimate decision will also involve other considerations, such as job security. If you and your spouse are eligible to participate in employer-sponsored group health insurance plans, which of you is more likely to remain employed? Expense is probably another issue you’ll face. If your employer pays a larger portion of the premiums than your spouse’s employer pays, your spouse may argue that you should cover the children under your health plan. If you have custody of the children, though, you may find the extra expense too burdensome.

The issues of child support and child custody are quite relevant when you discuss health insurance coverage of the children. For example, if you have custody of the children, receive child support, and need your spouse to provide health insurance coverage for the children, you may be able to obtain a court order (if necessary) to ensure his or her compliance. This is known as a qualified medical child support order.

You’ll resolve the issue of health coverage–and many other issues–during your divorce settlement negotiations. Because state divorce laws may vary, you should seek advice from a divorce attorney before making any decisions.