The answer to your question is MAYBE ? let me explain:
Laws differ all over the US. Individual courts and judges all view
different circumstances in different ways - and even THIS individual
view can vary from day to day or week to week.
If your divorce decree requires you to maintain health insurance
coverage for your children through your employer most likely the
minimum requirement of you according to this court order (unless it
specifically says otherwise) is that you simply maintain coverage?
WHATEVER COVERAGE your employer offers (i.e. don?t cancel it, fail to
pay it, allow it to lapse, etc).
Can your ex take you to court and ASK the court to make you carry
greater coverage? Sure. You probably know by now that an ex can take
you to court at the drop of a hat and ask for ANYTHING, no matter how
ridiculous or superficial (of course, that doesn?t mean he or she will
always get it, but they CAN take you nonetheless.)
In addition your ex can theoretically take you back to court and ask
that the payment obligation be changed to reflect a 60-40 deal, or
some such altered arrangement if she learns that your policy has
dropped eye coverage, for example, and her obligation is suddenly more
than it used to be. Again, it doesn?t mean that she?ll get it, but she
is more likely to be awarded an amended payment schedule if she can
establish some type of financial hardship.
Furthermore, if she did take you to court, it would depend on the
local or state policies, how the Judge feels that day, what is
traditionally done in family court in your jurisdiction, and how each
of you present yourselves and your case in court. If she was to show
up with a bad attitude it could impact the decision. If the judge gets
up on the w4rong side of the bed that day, it can have an impact on
how he or she views the case. See what I mean? There are way too many
variables to consider.
So, in answer to your question, ?Can my ex-wife [on her own] force me
to pay the total cost for things that were covered under the policy at
the time of the divorce, but are no longer covered?? The answer is NO
? not on HER OWN she can?t.
In answer to your question, ?Can my ex-wife [through the court] force
me to pay the total cost for things that were covered under the policy
at the time of the divorce, but are no longer covered?? The answer is
YES, she can IF the court finds in her favor.
Is it LIKELY to happen? Based on my own experiences and those of
people I have known, probably not (assuming you are not making
substantially higher income now than you were making at the time of
the original divorce decree that would easily allow you to pay a
greater portion than before, and/or your ex-wife is not making
substantially less or on the throes of some kind of financial
Unlike some years ago when courts typically favored the custodial
mother, divorce in today?s world is truly becoming an equal
opportunity deal. Courts still base their decisions primarily on what
is in the best interest of the children, but now they tend to view
each situation on a case-by-case basis and place more significance on
equality and fairness than on gender. So, in all fairness, if your
decree says to ?maintain insurance through your employer? and you have
done that then you are probably safe, even if the benefits have
changed, because that is something that is completely out of your
Keep in mind though that where benefits have been reduced or
discontinued you will actually bear a much greater burden than before
(as will your ex) because you will now have to pay a full 50% of the
bill out of pocket, instead of 50% of the non-covered portion after
On the other hand, if your ex is a particularly vindictive person and
WANTS you to maintain the same level coverage and you refuse, then you
may start seeing enormous medical bills in your mailbox for a host of
unnecessary trips to the doctor such as eye exams, counseling, braces,
physical therapy, and on and on. Yes, it HAS and DOES happen.
Why do I tell you this? Because even though you are probably safe
where the court is concerned, don?t push your luck and burn all your
bridges over this deal. You fairly safe, traditionally speaking, but
you?re not nearly safe enough to thumb your nose and provoke her. If
you do you may have to get a second job ? or a bigger mailbox.
In the end, as our disclaimer below indicates, your best advice would
come from a licensed attorney. In the meantime I hope you find that my
answer exceeds your expectations. If you have any questions about my
research please post a clarification request prior to rating the
answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your final comments and I
look forward to working with you again in the near future. Thank you
for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher