Think twice about divorcing to save some bucks on Obamacare

Here’s an interesting twist on visitation in the family law context, in Georgia and everywhere else across the country.

You and your ex-spouse have just divorced. Your spouse has been awarded child custody of the kids, and you have visitation rights as the non-custodial parent. When you want to see the kids, you just — as usual — look up and, well, see them.

In fact, you’re in the same house, continuing to reside with your now-divorced partner, with no alteration in your relationship with the kids other than the custody change.

What might logically lead to this situation?

In a word, Obamacare.

Also known as the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare is unquestionably front and center in news stories across the country right now as the legislation takes effect and works through website-related and application glitches that have been widely noted.

An ancillary and less well-noted effect of the law has been that it has induced some middle- and upper-income couples to divorce or at least consider taking that step to realize money savings on health insurance.

Obamacare has a stated monetary threshold that identifies couples who qualify for subsidies to make care coverage cheaper. Because the income for married couples is counted jointly, that often renders them ineligible for offsets and makes coverage prohibitively expensive.

But if they divorce ….

The idea is that, by doing so, only the income of the lower-paid spouse is considered, which can kick in significant savings for a couple. Additionally, those savings are enhanced even further by adding the kids to the policy of the lower wage earner.

And in the meantime, nothing really changes for the family other than the “divorced” designation.

Understandably, tax authorities and state officials frown on any couple taking such an action, and penalties can be assessed for those who do.

Fines meted out by the IRS could run “into tens of thousands of dollars,” notes one writer on the subject, who cites the tax agency’s “new role as the de facto ‘marriage police.’”

Source: Newsmax, “Divorce cheaper option for couples facing huge Obamacare premiums,” Nov. 7, 2013

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