supreme court rulingA U.S. Supreme Court ruling highlighted the importance of men choosing a family law attorney who will be resolute on all issues in pursuing and concluding a divorce.

In Hillman v. Maretta, the husband (Warren Hillman) failed to change his life insurance beneficiary after his divorce. Upon his death years later, his ex-wife (Judy Maretta), who was still listed as the named beneficiary from their marriage, ended up receiving the proceeds instead of his widow (Jacqueline Hillman) receiving the benefit.

Mrs. Hillman’s claim was denied because she was not the named beneficiary on her husband’s policy. Mrs. Hillman sued Ms. Maretta for the full amount of death benefits under the policy.

The failure of the husband to seek a qualified men’s divorce attorney to not only obtain the divorce but to also implement the divorce judgment resulted in this unintended consequence.

While the Hillman v. Maretta ruling focuses on the provisions applicable to a federal government employee life insurance program, many states and some private employers have similar provisions in their employee benefits in order to put the burden on the employee to keep their choices up to date and to keep the employer out of disputes as to who receives life insurance benefits.

Cordell & Cordell divorce attorneys routinely advise clients of the need to make such beneficiary changes upon the divorce, in addition to counseling as to other divorce implementation issues, and offer clients assistance in doing so should the client so desire.

The importance of having a qualified, licensed family attorney cannot be emphasized enough. The procedures in family court may seem simple and children-oriented, but they are complicated. The mistakes made from self-representation can have lasting, non-modifiable consequences. Contact us today to ensure you and your family are protected.

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