Life Events - Divorce

If you and your spouse get divorced, you must complete and submit a Notice of COBRA Qualifying Event Form (PDF) to remove your ex-spouse from coverage within 30 days of the divorce. Your ex-spouse and your step-children cannot be continued on your university benefits coverage. Your ex-spouse's group health benefits stop on the last day of the month in which the divorce is final. Spousal life insurance terminates immediately as of the date of divorce.

COBRA Continuation

Divorce is considered a COBRA qualifying event. While university policy requires you to remove your ex-spouse from your U-M benefits within 30 days of the divorce, federal regulations require the university to provide your ex-spouse the opportunity to continue group health coverage at their own cost under COBRA provided you or your ex-spouse submit a Notice of COBRA Qualifying Event Form (PDF) within 60 days of the date of the divorce or the date coverage ends, whichever is later.

If you are obligated through terms of the divorce judgment to provide health insurance coverage for your ex-spouse, that coverage can be provided for a limited time under COBRA, or you may purchase a private policy. You cannot maintain coverage for your ex-spouse as your dependent under any university sponsored insurance program.

For information about COBRA continuation privileges, visit the COBRA home page on the Benefits Office website.

Failure to Report

Falsifying information/documentation in order to obtain/continue insurance coverage is considered a dishonest act and could lead to discipline and criminal prosecution. Inadvertent or negligent failures to update or correct information related to eligibility of an employee’s listed dependent is also subject to penalty. Employees are responsible for updating dependent information within 30 calendar days of the occurrence of any event affecting eligibility; for example, a divorce severing a marriage or if a dependent marries. The university may impose a financial penalty, including, but not limited to, repayment of all insurance premiums the university made on behalf of the ineligible dependent and/or any claims paid by the insurance companies. Disciplinary action up to and including dismissal may also be imposed if deemed appropriate.

Other Factors to Consider

Do you need to enroll in U-M coverage because you are losing coverage as a dependent under your ex-spouse’s plan?
If you are eligible for benefits as a U-M employee and are covered as a dependent on your ex-spouse's employer’s plan but will lose that coverage due to divorce, you may enroll in U-M benefits by completing and submitting a Benefits Enrollment/Change Form within 30 days of the divorce.

Does your divorce judgment include any orders pertaining to your retirement plans?
Review information concerning Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) on the Retirement Plans home page.

Do you need to make changes to your personal information and tax withholding status within the university systems? You may need to update:

  • Your beneficiary designation. You must complete separate beneficiary designation forms for your life insurance plan and TIAA-CREF and Fidelity retirement savings plan investments.

  • Your name. Faculty and staff complete the Address/Personal Data Form on http://hr.umich.edu/hrris/forms/individuals.html OR contact the HR/Payroll Service Center at (734) 615-2000 OR toll-free at 1 (866) 647-7657. Students contact the Registrar's Office at Contact the Registrar's Office at ro.registration.questions@umich.edu OR phone (734) 647-3507.


  • Your address, phone number, and emergency contact information. Go to Wolverine Access and select the Faculty & Staff tab, and then select Employee Self-Service to log in, and then select Campus Personal Information.

  • Your federal and state W-4 tax withholding information. Go to Wolverine Access and select the Faculty & Staff tab, and select Employee Self-Service to log in, and then select Payroll and Compensation.

If you have any questions, you may call the HR/Payroll Service Center at 734-615-2000 or 1-866-647-7657 (toll free), Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.