Most divorce agreements have stipulations in them with regards to Life Insurance on both spouses naming each other on life insurance policies as beneficiaries until the children reach age 18.
This ‘add-in’ is designed to protect the parties if one parent were to pass and the children were left to be cared for by the surviving spouse.
If you are going to be receiving child support until children are age 18, and something happened to your ex, you are basically purchasing life insurance to secure income protection to be able to still care for your children in the absence of those support payments being completed.
My LAST 5 Clients
My last 5 clients who have gone through divorce mediation shared that were all stipulated the same $250,000 as being required until the youngest turned age 18. Made me think “Hmmm? Is this the cookie-cutter amount?”
I had my best friend ask her mediator about the required amount and how it was figured and she answered “This is the amount we always use”.
Funny because I’m not sure how when I suggest as a Financial Coach that someone should be sure to have 6X their salary in life insurance to protect their family if something were to happen to them, how an amount of $250,000 is the “suggested amount” to protect the financial aspect of the divorce agreement.
Here’s what happened to the last 3 women I’ve counselled.
They all HAD the ‘court required’ $250,000 term life already in place on each other and they basically kept the same policy and called it ‘the divorce life policy’, copied the death benefit page and dropped it on the table at the mediation session and checked it off their ‘lists’.
3 BIG Term Life Problems
The life policy was written 15 years ago when they married and only has another 5 year rate guarantee (they had purchased 20 year term) which means that in 5 years their rates are going up and they are stuck having to keep this policy with the rates increasing every year after year 5 and through year 12.
Solution: Shop for a new term policy via an agent that has multiple choices of markets for the amount required and for the term required or more than the term required.
If you want to replace the one you had with this one, only do so after you have gotten full underwriting approval and the new policy is in your hands and accepted by you. This way you know exactly what your rates will be for the new guaranteed term.
Most term life policies can be quoted/purchased with 10-15-20-30 year rate guarantees.
In the case above, this wife was receiving $100 week child support for each of the children until each reaches age 18.
That looks like this:
Child one: Age 10 $5200 year x 10 years $52,000
Child two: Age 8 $5200 year x 12 years $62,400
Child three: Age 6 $5200 year x 14 years $72,800
THEN $1500 month spousal support for 10 years $180,000)
IF something were to happen in YEAR ONE to the ex-spouse you can see that the financial loss of child support and alimony would be $367,200 but the life policy was in the amount of $250,000.
In many cases there are Social Security “survivor benefits” awarded to children when a parent passes away, but not knowing what that amount would be or considering that these 3 children also will still have college costs, undervaluing the Life Insurance Benefit/requirement is a huge mistake in divorce negotiations.
Is the policy still in force today?
Yes, the policy gets dropped down as evidence that you’ve met the requirement but then like everything else you are ‘on your honor’.
Problem with Life Insurance is no one asks their ex-spouse for an annual receipt that they’ve been making the renewal payments or proof they’ve been keeping the policy in force.