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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-26-2014, 09:26 PM
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Default Ex-wife on benefits

Hi all...new member here, have lots of questions, but one at a time eh? lol
I have been living common-law with someone for 10 years now, and he is not divorced yet. His ex is still on his medical benefits, as she has a lot of medical issues, and he promised his daughter that he would keep her on his benefits. I have no benefits where I work, and can't afford to go to a dentist. I'm assuming he can't have both of us on his benefits? I'm thinking this is why he's dragging his feet getting his divorce; not that he feels sympathy for her as much as he just doesn't like confrontations with her. Any input? Am I going to just have to suffer or save up money for my own benefits? Can this go on forever, or will his employer draw the line at having her on his benefits after them being separated for x number of years?
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:36 PM
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It is not uncommon to keep an ex on the benefit plan until the divorce. The difference here is that there is no divorce after 10+ years.

Benefit plans will include a spouse and children. They won't include two spouses. Some plans may allow addition of other family members - for example, you - for an additional cost paid by the employee.

For him, keeping the ex on the benefit plan may be in addition to, or instead of, paying spousal support. In other words, he keeps her on the plan instead of paying spousal support every month.

Personally, I take responsibility for my own medical and dental expenses. I believe that we all should, and not expect someone else to provide coverage. If you can find employment that provides coverage, great, but not every job provides this. You can also pay for your own extended coverage through private insurers.

There really isn't enough information here to say if your common law spouse is being reasonable or not. He may have an obligation to provide his ex with coverage, or he may just be passive. It would be better to ask him about it.
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:45 PM
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Thank you for your reply. I didn't mean to make it sound like I'm leaning on him to provide coverage for me. We are a low income family, and I can only work part time due to health reasons.
My common-law spouse has children, but they are in their late 20s, and you're right, it does make sense that this is in lieu of paying spousal support.
I also checked a few websites, and they all say there is no such thing as "no divorce after 10+ years", that you can virtually be separated forever but still legally married.?
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:50 PM
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He is still legally married. You are his common law spouse; he has two spouses.

If he owns a house that is still the matrimonial home from the time of his marriage, then if he dies, it is likely that the house would go to her, not you or his children. (This depends on the nature of the title, but it is a serious issue for most separated couples.)

Again, just talk to him. Why isn't he divorced, is there some continuing obligation regarding the benefits, what is the situation with the title of the home, and would he be willing to go to see a family lawyer and talk about obligations, estate planning, title of home, etc.?
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:29 AM
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he may see no need to get divorced as he feels it gives him a reason (or excuse) not to get married again?
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:08 AM
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You could be right, for sure. I tend to worry about what will happen down the road when he dies and she'll try to get her hands in somewhere.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:44 AM
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Personally I think this is a communication issue between you and him. If he has kept her on his benefits for 10+ years, there has to be a reason, other than he doesn't like confrontation. We really can't help you, as you have given no indication what their separation agreement or divorce order says.

To me it seems strange that after 10 years of being with him, you have not had this conversation with him?
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:59 AM
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Yes you make a good point, it is indeed strange. We have talked about it, but I guess I'm not getting the answers.
Also, they have no separation agreement. He left, and signed off on the ownership of the house, which was hers through inheritance anyway.
Thanks everyone for your input. Things look different when I look at it from a different perspective.
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