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Divorce Paperwork - Qualifying Event


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An employee has submitted paperwork to show he has experienced a divorce as a Qualifying Event.  However, he didn't submit a divorce decree, but, rather, other documents such as a Partial Mediated Settlement Agreement.  Is this sufficient?  Even if it is, is it OK for me to require an actual divorce decree instead?

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Yes.  It might be a "limited divorce" or a "divorce a mensa et thoro" neither of which are actual final divorces.  An appeal of the divorce decree might delay it's effective date.  I would ask for a certified copy of the divorce decree.  It's not a difficult thing to provide. 

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It's important to note that it's not a REQUIREMENT under IRS Section 125 rules to provide 'proof' of any qualified life event before allowing a change to occur.  Employer sponsored plan rules determine if proof is required when processing allowable events.  If the coverage is fully-insured, the insurance carrier may have a say in the process as well.   However,  while it's fairly common to request/require proof of an event when ADDING coverage (outside of the annual enrollment event) under an employer sponsored benefit plan (adding liability), it's not as common to require proof of an event when DROPPING coverage under an allowable event (removing liability) in an employer sponsored benefit plan.  Employer sponsored plans have many compliance burdens.  Requiring proof of life events fortunately isn't one of them.    You can, it's just not a compliance rule to do so.

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