How do I ensure that child support payments will continue in the event my ex-spouse gets sick or dies?

My husband has no life insurance, and I’m counting on him for child support payments. What happens if he gets sick or dies? Is there some way of ensuring that the payments will continue?

By Amy Zylman Shimalla
March 02, 2016
Amy Zylman Shimalla on child support payments

As part of the divorce process, you will gather information regarding disability insurance available to your spouse. You will ask that he agree, or be required to maintain, disability coverage to protect your child support in the event he becomes ill or disabled. If he does not have such coverage, you can ask that he be directed to obtain private coverage. Such coverage is very expensive, and he may not be required to purchase it given other more immediate financial needs of your family. As part of the divorce process, you will also be entitled to gather information regarding the life insurance coverage available to your spouse. You can ask that he be required to maintain coverage naming your children as beneficiaries. The level of life insurance he will be required to maintain will take into consideration his child support obligation and his responsibility to contribute to the children's other expenses, including college. Such coverage will normally remain in place until the child is emancipated. You will want to ask that you be named as custodian or trustee to benefits payable for your child’s benefit so that funds are available to you for your child’s needs, and most parties agree to set up life insurance in this way. You will want to require your spouse to provide proof of such coverage at the time of the divorce and periodically thereafter. You will also want your agreement to contain a provision that, in the event the coverage lapses for any reason, the amount of the coverage will be a lien against your former spouse’s estate for your child’s benefit.

Amy Zylman Shimalla is a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Warren, New Jersey and a partner with the law firm of Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP.

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March 02, 2016
Categories:  Child Support|FAQs

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