Good planning is required to get the best possible result in a divorce. One important area to consider is insurance coverage and health care.
If you receive benefits under your spouse's health insurance plan and you get divorced, you'll need to decide whether the cost of continuing under the COBRA statute is affordable. Even if you can pay the premium, after 36 months you are no longer entitled to be covered.
For people who have a serious or chronic illness, and can't otherwise afford the cost of coverage, this is a critical issue. One of the advantages of approaching separation or divorce amicably is that it allows matters like these to be handled in a calm, logical and clear-headed manner.
Legally separating instead of divorcing can buy some time to get these problems worked out. For example, if the ill spouse is presently unemployed, it can allow him or her time to find a job and get their own insurance.
However, to guard your legal position, you'll need a properly drafted separation agreement that sets forth each party's rights and obligations. Without one, you can become liable in various ways.
Discussing the dissolution of the relationship in this fashion creates opportunities for negotiation that minimize the financial trauma divorce can inflict.