When you are going through a divorce there are so many things to think about. So many things to negotiate with a person you are trying to separate yourself from. However, once you have children you truly are tied to this other person forever … many days I thought, “Well, this is what was meant by the for better or worse part of the those wedding vows.”
So in the midst of thinking about custody of the children, housing, child support, alimony, who is going to get the antique armoire that you both love (me), the grill (him), life insurance isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Or at least it wasn’t for us. We are both young (ish) and healthy. Both of our parents have lived to ripe old ages.
What do you do about the life insurance when you decide to divorce?
We were forced to consider what life insurance means. What kind of life do we want our children to be able to have if either one of us is not here? When I was married, I used to joke to my husband that I wanted him to have enough life insurance so that if I were forced to live without him, it would at least be in a style to which I’d love to become accustomed. There is some truth in there. Should my children lose either of us, I don’t want to add to the loss by subjecting them to a financial burden.
So we added up all the years of child support that would need to be replaced. The college funds, the music lessons, the summer camps, the sports equipment, the driver’s ed the SAT courses, the list went on and on and on. We looked at each and had the exact same thought, “Damn these kids are expensive.” Followed quickly by, “Whose idea was it to have them in the first place?”
Oh, I am just kidding. Who would want to give up the sleepless nights, endless worrying, depositing of paycheck directly into the pediatrician’s bank account?
We added all of those things and then some to our final figure. Even though we are divorcing each other, we both recognize that not having financial strain makes us better parents. And more than anything, we both want each other to be the best parents we can be, for our children.
Based on my experience with friends who have gone through divorce, they allowed their animosity for their former spouse to cloud their thinking. They viewed the life insurance policy as somehow benefiting their ex-spouse, instead of the children. As if they imagined the person greedily rubbing their hands together over their grave while fantasizing about a new sports car.
When our youngest child turns 21, we can legally do whatever we wish with our life insurance policy and designate a new beneficiary. In all likelihood we will still keep each other listed. Perhaps the amount will change. Perhaps there will be new policies with new spouses added. It is still a long time away. But one thing of which I am certain, and there is so very little I am certain of these post-divorce days, is that no else in this world has our children’s best interest at heart they way that we do. And even in the midst of arguing, bickering, and generally acting crazy to each other, it is important to remember that.