State law and the local court rules in St. Louis County both prohibit you from terminating any existing medical, dental, or vision insurance after a petition for divorce is filed. Don’t get cute and terminate the policy a couple of weeks before you file or take a new job and not cover your spouse or your kids when you have previously done so, as the judge in your divorce will not look kindly on that. Any medical bills resulting from no or different coverage will almost certainly be assigned to you and you will look like a jerk. Even if it means your spouse will be covered for a year, do it. That cost will be addressed in the divorce.

In St. Louis County, by local rule 68, several other provisions are intended to (and do) promote the integrity of the process:

  • The parties to the divorce are prohibited from threatening or engaging in abusive conduct toward one another such as stalking or disturbing the peace of the other or the minor children (in other words, act like a grown-up);
  • The parties to the divorce are not permitted to hide or damage property;
  • The parties to the divorce may not terminate any utilities such as gas, electric, telephone, internet or cable;
  • The parties to the divorce are prohibited from doing anything financial without the consent of the other party except to pay the ordinary bills and for the necessities of life (incurring greater debt against real property by drawing down a home equity loan or line of credit is not acceptable even though that was done routinely during the marriage.) When in doubt just ask. This is not a situation in which to act and seek permission later. Judges do not like folks disrespecting their rules.

Violation of the rules immediately before or after the filing of the divorce will be treated harshly by the judge and the financial consequences could be severe.  

It is in your best interest to follow these rules and if you have any questions, ask your attorney, not your barber who got divorced last year.