considering a divorce in california

Articles By Attorneys And Scholars
About Family Law

From the Law Offices of Lowenstein Brown,
A Professional Law Corporation

San Diego's Divorce Lawyers
619 298-6246

Life Insurance Following a Divorce

By: Michele Sacks Lowenstein, Certified Family Law Specialist;
State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization

Life Insurance May Be Court-Ordered As a Condition or as Part of a Divorce

Courts will frequently order a parent to maintain a life insurance policy naming the children as beneficiaries. This order is made to ensure that there will be sufficient funds to support the children should the parent die while the children are minors.


The amount of child support being paid must bear a relationship to the amount of the death benefit. In establishing the amount of the death benefit one must keep in mind that the child support is subject to change and a death benefit which appears excessive at the time the divorce was negotiated may not seem excessive in the future if viewed in the context of a future child support order. Moreover, one has to look to the level of inflation which, though low for the last ten years, has in recent memory been quite high. An amount which seems high today may not be high ten years from now.


Life insurance proceeds may be used by the beneficiary in any way he or she sees fit and you may wish to establish a trust which will receive the life insurance proceeds which can be used by your children for college expenses.


The Social Security Administration provides survivor benefits. As a person works and pays into Social Security, he or she earns credit toward these benefits. The unmarried children of a deceased parent receive monthly benefits so long as the children are under 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending secondary school full time.) The amount of the benefits depends upon the lifetime earnings of the person. Knowing what that figure might be helpful in calculating a reasonable amount of the insurance after divorce. You can contact the Social Security Administration to find out. Their web site address is or call 1-800-772.1213 for more information.