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Supreme Court Probes Insurance Money in Divorce Settlements Issue

Currently, the Supreme Court is looking at an issue that has been brought up in numerous divorce cases in recent months: should an ex –spouse be allowed to get insurance money from his or her spouse after the split? Supreme Court justices are looking at a law that is currently pending in Virginia, which would override a federal law that defines a beneficiary in a federal insurance program.

The case is in part connected with a man with the initials W.H. and his ex-wife with the initials J.M. W.H. made J.M. his beneficiary of his Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance policy before their divorce. After their split, W.H. remarried. He never changed his beneficiary designation after the split, so when W.H. passed on his current wife was not left with any of his insurance money. Instead, J.M. benefitted from these finances.

The second wife sued, saying that it wasn't fair for an ex-wife to receive money that was hers by marriage. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the first wife had the right to the money because her name was on the form as it had been printed by W.H. years ago. A Virginia law revokes a beneficiary designation in favor if a current spouse, which is why W.H.'s second wife believed that she had the right to sue in the situation. J.M. and her legal team argued that the federal law states that a listed beneficiary is the one who receives insurance money, and that the Virginia law was pre-empted by this federal one.

Justices questioned whether it was Congress' intention to get involved in the divorce matter, but the Supreme Court has decided to take a look at the case and determine what should be done about this dilemma. Hire a Los Angeles family attorney at Claery & Green if you are working through divorce financial matters and want to know how to remove your spouse as you beneficiary or if you need to fight because you don't believe that you are receiving goods or finances that you are rightfully entitled to.