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Columbus Ohio Divorce Lawyer on Divorce in Ohio Part 7: Preparing to File Divorce Papers

COLUMBUS OHIO DIVORCE LAWYERThis is the 7th installment in a series by Virginia Cornwell, a Columbus Ohio Divorce Attorney and Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.  Virginia is one of approximate 100 attorneys in Ohio to have received this honor.  This article is about the process and options for ending your marriage in Ohio, and about Ohio divorce laws.


This is something that that people sometimes do because they are mad at their spouse.  In Ohio, this is a really, really, really expensive and unwise mistake.  If you to plan to cancel your spouse’s health insurance immediately prior to or during a divorce, you might as well start signing blank checks and start looking for a nice size refrigerator box to live in when the divorce is over.

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COLUMBUS OHIO DIVORCE LAWYEROhio Revised Code 3105.71 prohibits the person who is the “named insured” on an insurance policy (if the policy is through a job, then that would be the person who has the job which provides the health insurance) from cancelling health insurance immediately prior to filing  for divorce, dissolution, annulment or legal separation, or while the case is pending.  This applies until the court determines who will provide health insurance for the spouse and children.

If you DO cancel your spouse or child’s health insurance during a divorce, or immediately prior to divorce, without the court’s permission to do this, Ohio Revised Code 3105.71 REQUIRES the court to order you to do the following:

  • Pay your spouse the amount of any premiums that you failed to pay
  • Reimburse your spouse for any hospital, surgical and medical expenses incurred as a result of your failure to keep the insurance (and remember, those services would have been provided at the UNINSURED price)
  • If you fail to comply with the two provisions above, the court must order your employer to deduct the amounts from your wages

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(B) If the party responsible for providing health insurance coverage for that party’s spouse and dependents under division (A) of this section fails to provide that coverage in accordance with that division, the court shall issue an order that includes all of the following:

(1) A requirement that the party make payment to that party’s spouse in the amount of any premium that party failed to pay or contribution that party failed to make that resulted in that party’s failure to provide health insurance coverage in compliance with division (A) of this section;

(2) A requirement that the party make payment to that party’s spouse for reimbursement of any hospital, surgical, and medical expenses incurred as a result of that party’s failure to comply with division (A) of this section;

(3) A requirement that, if the party fails to comply with divisions (B)(1) and (2) of this section, the employer of the party deduct from the party’s earnings an amount necessary to make any payments required under divisions (B)(1) and (2) of this section.

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If you are on the receiving end of this issue, and your health insurance was cancelled by your spouse right before or during a divorce, and the court had not made orders which allowed him or her to cancel your coverage, in addition to the rights above, you can apply to the insurer for coverage for yourself and your dependents.  Ohio Revised Code 3105.71 says that you “have the same rights and be subject to the same limitations as a person applying for or covered under a converted or separate policy under section 3923.32 of the Revised Code upon the divorce, annulment, dissolution of marriage, or the legal separation of the spouse from the named insured.”

COLUMBUS OHIO DIVORCE LAWYERIn addition to the penalties the law REQUIRES the court to do, you should think about all the things the court MAY do, but is not required to.  For instance, if you cancelled your spouse or children’s health insurance because you are mad, you have now put yourself in a special category in the court’s mind – a person who will do ANYTHING to get even with their spouse, and who needs a lot of court orders to make sure they meet their financial obligations.   This can play out with some pretty unpleasant results such as:

  • Your child support obligation (if any) is higher because you might not pay for anything that you have discretion to pay or not pay for
  • Your spousal support (or alimony) is higher, because the court may not trust you to follow court orders for payments, and therefore concludes that it is best that the money come straight out of your paycheck
  • When dividing property, the court may choose to give your spouse assets that are more liquid in fear that you will devalue property that must be sold
  • When deciding whether to award or not award attorney fees to your spouse, the court may believe that you increased attorney fees with your behavior, and be more likely to award attorney fees to your spouse.

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None of these are a good result.  So remember – do NOT cancel your spouse or your child’s health insurance right before divorce, or during divorce, without the permission of the court.

You may also find some of these articles in our divorce series to be of interest:

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In addition to the other installments in this Divorce in Ohio Series (see links at top of the page), you may also find the following topics, which relate to divorce, to be helpful.

AdulteryAnnulmentAlimony (Spousal Support)Best Interest of the ChildChild CustodyChild Custody Jurisdiction, Child Support (deviation)Child Support (how much)Child Support (how to pay)Child Support (lower)Child Support (myths)Child Support (resources), Child Support (sign up),ContemptDissolutionDivorce BasicsDivorce MythsForeclosure MediationGrandparentsGuardian ad LitemHouse, How Long Your Divorce May LastInternational Abduction,Legal SeparationMediationMovingPacket of Forms vs. Getting a LawyerPrenuptial Agreements (Antenuptial Agreements)Shared Parenting,Temporary OrdersTemporary Orders AffidavitsWhere to File for Divorce

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  1. M says

    In divorce decree is requires ex to provide health insurance for minor children. This stopped in 2010. I have just remarried and my new husband added kids to his policy. The insurance company will only provided”secondary” coverage because father was court ordered to provide insurance, so his would be “primary”…they further informed me that without a primary, secondary would not pay ANYTHING!! This does not seem right. They must not know anything about how courts operate in our county as they told me to “call or go to court and ask them to CHANGE the order listing my NEW HUSBAND as primary!! It’s not that easy & any involvement with court in past was a financial crisis!! Can you offer any advice?? No one can FORCE a parent to follow the court order but to punish the children does not seem like the right answer.

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