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Affordable health care may ease and increase Ohio divorces

Ragged emotions may overshadow everything else at the end of a marriage. Hurt, anger and shock over a spouse's lost feelings or your own can be consuming. Divorcing Columbus couples soon realize strong feelings are just one part of the divorce process.

Contemplating divorce means thinking about individual futures. Financial considerations become a priority. Equitable distribution laws guide divorces in Ohio, which require a fair, but not necessarily equal, division of marital assets.

The longer a married couple has been together, the more assets that have likley accumulated. Assets are not all tangible, like houses and cars. Marital property also includes spousal income, investments, retirement funds and insurance.

Health insurance is a high-value asset. Many current health care policies are employer-based family plans. When divorce changes the future, one spouse may continue to have excellent coverage, while the other spouse is deprived of coverage. High health insurance premiums can significantly disrupt the budgets of new ex-spouses.

Medical coverage under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act became available this month. The plan will attempt to place health insurance costs within every American's reach. The impact may affect divorce settlements and possibly divorce rates.

Many couples who wanted to divorce in the last several years hesitated to file over finances. Spouses stayed married when the recession caused home values to bottom out. Sale prices were so low that couples walked away with little or no profit. Worse yet, they owed more than the home was worth.

Job losses and, in many cases, simultaneous loss of health coverage also impacted families. In some cases, marriages teetering on the brink of divorce stayed intact so both spouses could have medical insurance. Spouses who delayed divorce over health coverage now may no longer have any reason to do so.

Emotions may create a marital divide, but finances often determine when divorce happens.

Source: financial-planning.com, "Divorce Wave to Follow Obamacare Rollout?" Janice Fioravante, Sep. 30, 2013

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