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Can You Cancel or Change Your Insurance During Divorce?

The short answer is NO, do not ever change your insurance during a divorce. The courts prohibit it and changing insurance without court approval will be very detrimental to your case.  It is understandable for spouses to start wondering about insurance policies after they separate and file for divorce.  Certainly after divorce is final, they need to make appropriate changes.  They may have to decide which spouse’s group health insurance should cover the children, whether to change beneficiaries on a life insurance policy, or how to modify car insurance.  Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance are other concerns.  Divorce alters lifestyles and makes adjustments necessary.  Yet, to be safe during divorce, spouses should discuss any ideas about changing insurance with a Texas divorce lawyer before doing anything, or otherwise put their ideas on hold. In many counties, the court will issue Temporary Restraining Orders and, later, Temporary Injunctions, that prohibit changing many things, including insurance. 

Legal restraints for insurance changes

Most Texas counties issue TROs (temporary restraining orders) and Temporary Injunctions that prevent changing insurance or other financial accounts during a divorce. One example of that is the judges in Harris County who typically issue TROs and Temporary Injunctions, as judges do in many other counties. There are other counties, such as Montgomery County and Grimes County, that have standing orders, that are automatically in force in all cases, that stop all such changes to financial accounts.

While the divorce case is in progress,  residents filing for divorce in Montgomery County for example  must abide by the Montgomery County Standing Order. Under this order the courts prohibit either spouse from the doing the following regarding insurance:

  • Withdrawing or borrowing against the surrender value of life insurance policies unless their actions fall under activities authorized by the standing order
  • Changing children or the other spouse as beneficiaries or altering such terms on life insurance
  • Changing or canceling casualty, automobile, or health insurance policies regarding marital property, persons, or children

The court’s view on resolving insurance and other issues Ideally, divorcing couples can work together for the best interests of the family.  What to do about insurance policies should involve input from both sides.  Often couples working out disagreements through mediation or other dispute resolution methods address and resolve ways for insurance to benefit all parties, including the children.  The courts encourage parties to settle their conflicts whenever possible without court intervention. Contact a Texas divorce attorney for legal help with divorce.

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Robert Reid McInvale
Attorney at Law

Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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