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Will Obamacare Lead to a Flood of Divorces Because It Pays to be Single?


As experienced South Carolina family law attorneys, we have seen a lot of reasons for divorce over more than two decades. However, the reason why a young, recently married couple from Brooklyn in New York is considering divorce, has even taken attorneys by surprise.

They say they are still in love with each other and their relationship is not in trouble. So why would they contemplate divorce? They say they are considering splitting up so as they can avoid the marriage penalty contained in the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

A report on CBS detailed the story of Nona Willis Aronowitz and Aaron Cassara. They met in 2008 and married a year later at City Hall in Manhattan.

"It was really sudden," Aronowitz told the TV station. "It was basically because he needed health insurance, and I had a job that would give that to him."

Four years later the healthcare funding issues that encouraged them to go to City Hall in the first place, may land them in the divorce courts.

"After Obamacare has rolled out, we realized that we would save thousands of dollars if we got divorced," Aronowitz said.

The problem for the couple is that together as a family of only two their income exceeds the $62,000 level to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. If they were unmarried but still lived together, they would qualify for those subsidies and said they could save hundreds of dollars a month on their health care.

Under the Affordable Care Act everyone must seek insurance coverage or face increasingly stiff tax penalties. The few hundred dollars a month they can save by divorcing will be significant for Aronowitz and Cassara. They lost jobs in the insurance industry due to downsizing and have been getting by on freelance work. They say under current guidelines they will face paying more than $9,000 in yearly premiums to finance only a silver-level health insurance plan.

The Affordable Health Act allows single unmarried people to earn up to $45,960, meaning an unmarried couple living together could earn up to $91,920 and still qualify for subsidies.

It remains to be seen if the Affordable Care Act will lead to a spate of divorces but this hidden penalty on marriage could certainly be a factor in some relationships.

"Experts on the impact of marriage penalties were skeptical that many couples would consider divorce over insurance rates. Still, there is some data to suggest that marriage penalties embedded in government programs can discourage marriage among those who are benefiting from programs that favor the unmarried," stated the article The Hidden Marriage Penalty of Obamacare in

Uncontested divorces in which there are no significant disputes and neither party attempts to fight the action in the court, are the most common kinds of divorce, accounting for 95 percent of divorces, according to the American Bar Association.

However, the fact that a divorce is uncontested does not mean it is necessarily easy. Couples often find it difficult to divide assets and sort out child support issues, meaning an experienced family law attorney can make the process smoother.

A Columbia, SC divorce attorney can help couples work out child custody issues and spousal support issues. Call the Masella Law firm at 803.748.9990.

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