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Filing for divorce? Don't forget to change your beneficiaries

Divorce can be complicated, even though it's worth it. If you're a typical Indiana couple with a house, kids and shared finances, there is a lot to consider -- arranging parenting time, deciding what to do with the house, divvying up the debts and the retirement savings.

Insurance is a big part of life, but it's not something you think about every day. During divorce, however, you'll need to consider all five main types of insurance: health, life, disability, auto and home/rental. Here's what to keep in mind during your divorce:

Health insurance. Just as you did as a couple, you will need to run the numbers to find the least expensive option to insure yourselves and your children. In the past, that may have been for everyone to be on one spouse's policy, but that's not allowed for ex-spouses. The uninsured spouse will need to buy insurance through their own employer or on the public exchange. In some cases, they can temporarily continue on their ex-spouse's policy through COBRA, although it may be costly.

Temporary and long-term disability insurance. If you should be unable to work due to an injury or illness, this insurance kicks in to replace some or all of your salary. If you rely on your own work, you need this insurance. If your primary income will be alimony or child support, you should consider a term in your divorce decree requiring your ex to carry disability insurance.

Life insurance. If one ex-spouse will be paying alimony or child support, the divorce decree should require that person to have life insurance with the other as the beneficiary. That way, the payments could be replaced by an insurance payout if the paying spouse dies. If no ongoing financial obligations remain between you, don't forget to remove your ex as the beneficiary to any existing policies.

Auto insurance. Once your cars are titled to the correct spouse, you'll need to remove your ex as a driver from your policy and get it in your own name. Also, you may not qualify for some of your existing discounts, such as multi-car or married driver discounts, so shop around.

Home and rental insurance. Homeowners are often required to have insurance, but renters should protect themselves from losses, damage and liability, too. If you're moving into a rental, don't forget to buy a policy, which is usually quite affordable. If one spouse keeps the house as part of the divorce settlement, that person will need to work with their homeowners insurance company to get the policy in their name alone.

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Robert Schembs
22 E. Washington Street
Suite 610
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 317-643-6266
Fax: 317-536-0651
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