Pre-Divorce Designation of Spouse as Life Insurance Beneficiary

If your spouse is designated as your life insurance beneficiary, and you later divorce, the Texas Family Code establishes that your now ex-spouse will not be treated as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, unless one of three conditions exist:1

  1. Your decree of divorce names the ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy;
  2.  You re-designate your ex-spouse as your beneficiary after the divorce; or,
  3.  Your ex-spouse is designated to receive your life insurance proceeds in trust for, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a  child or dependent of yours or your former spouse.

The provision above does not apply to life insurance policies provided by the federal government to Servicemember.2  For example, if a Servicemember divorces, later remarries and neglects to name his new spouse instead of his ex-spouse as his Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) beneficiary, the ex-spouse will receive the life insurance proceeds because that person is the named beneficiary.3

Court orders and life insurance policies of Federal Civil Service employees do not operate under the same protection described above.  That will be the topic of my next blog.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC.  The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world.  The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters.

Note1 – Tex Fam. Code Section 9.302(a).

Note2,3 – Ridgway v. Ridgway, 454 U.S. 46, 55-56 (1981).