When married couples decide to part ways, many difficult decisions must be made, particularly if the couple has children together. One concern couples often discuss with our divorce attorneys at Feldstein Family Law P.C. is whether their estranged spouse can stay on their health insurance after a divorce, if their spouse benefits from their health insurance. If spouses decide to separate amicably, it is possible for both spouses to remain on the same health insurance policy if they do not finalize a divorce, but choose to legally separate, instead.
This was the case for a Hollywood couple who chose to legally separate instead of divorce. Michael Fishman, famous for his role as ‘D.J.’ on Rosanne, and his estranged wife, Jennifer Briner, have separated, but are doing so amicably. Michael and Jennifer married in October 1999 and have two children: a 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. According to court documents, Jennifer listed their date of separation as June 16, 2017. Jennifer filed for legal separation from “The Conners” star after nearly 20 years of marriage, and in a statement to TMZ, Michael explained the reason that the couple opted for separation over divorce.
"Among the reasons for not getting a regular divorce is the shared desire to keep Jenny covered by my health insurance and allow to slowly unfold our 20 years together in a way mutually beneficial for our family, particularly on behalf of our children," he said.
In Ontario, couples typically separate prior to getting divorced. Couples can commit to keeping partners and children on their employee benefits or health insurance coverage by way of a separation agreement, before or after their divorce becomes final. Some employee benefit plans will not enable a non-spouse to be covered. As such, having a divorce finalized can limit a spouse’s health and dental coverage in a way that a separation does not.