How to avoid creating a murderer

Halloween 2006
Image by Terry.Tyson via Flickr

Happy Halloween. Here is the scariest thing I saw today:

“Wife shall purchase Life Insurance in the amount of the outstanding mortgage on the marital residence naming Husband as beneficiary.”

Gave me chills – like reading the woman’s death warrant.  Spooky on Halloween!

Not so bad by itself – I agree – but this was on a divorce agreement.  And, there was no language suggesting that the Husband should also purchase life insurance naming the Wife as beneficiary.

Look, I’m all for people reaching their own agreements and keeping lawyers on the sidelines as much as reasonably possible. But the key word here is reasonably.  Just because two parties can reach an amicable resolution to their divorce does not mean that we should be falsely naïve in the process.  One sided life insurance creates an unreasonable motive. 

Maybe the Husband’s motives are genuine right now.  But, this is not someone who has anything to gain by his ex-wife staying alive, necessarily. They are no longer raising a family together; he is not receiving alimony or support.  A day might come when he realizes that the life insurance policy naming him as beneficiary is the best thing he has going for him.

I am not saying every ex-spouse is a potential murderer.  But, we do not know


in advance which ones are and which are not.  That would make law enforcement much easier. 

Life insurance premiums in divorce agreements make sense when there is child support or alimony that only one spouse can afford to pay.  Life insurance makes sense in divorce agreements when both parties are integral to preserving an estate for their minor children.  Still, in each of these cases it makes more sense to name the party’s own estate, and not their divorced spouse, as the beneficiary.

Please, have an attorney read your divorce decree before you sign it.  Once it signed it may be enforceable by a court of law.

What We Love:  Mutual life insurance policies in which each party names their own estate in order to maintain a decent standard of living for the children of the marriage…and clients who let their lawyers talk them out of spooky situations!


Published by Sharon Oberst DeFala

Sharon Oberst DeFala has practiced low-impact safe divorce since 1992.

One thought on “How to avoid creating a murderer

  1. haha I thought mine was bad…’husband shall not be allowed to have persons of the opposite gender who are dating him live in his residence or stay overnight defined as the hours between 9 pm through 9 am the following day.’ Well that is a bunch of bull! I didn’t sign it I was just given this crappy deal. 😦

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