Human Resources

Getting Divorced

Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult periods of anyone’s life. From the emotional impact it may have on your family to the stress it can place on your financial well-being, each divorce presents a unique set of challenges. 

Should you find yourself going through a divorce or a dissolution of a domestic partnership, you will want to take action and inform the WHOI Benefits Team of your situation as soon as possible. This will help us to work with you to identify those areas that may be impacted by specific situation.  For example, if you have children, they will continue to be eligible dependents under the your WHOI-sponsored medical plan and may also continue to be covered under your benefits, while coverage for your former spouse will end on the last day of the month following the date of your divorce. However, your former spouse will be eligible to continue coverage on an individual basis under COBRA due to loss of coverage.

With these challenges in mind, please note that a divorce or dissolution of domestic partnership will be considered a Qualified Life Event for purposes of your WHOI-sponsored benefits. As a result, we ask you complete and return a Benefits Enrollment & Change form, along with the necessary supporting documentation (including a copy your court issued divorce decree or separation agreement) to within 31 days of the divorce or the final dissolution of your domestic partnership. This will ensure that your benefits and the benefits afforded to your former spouse (including COBRA continuation coverage) will not be disrupted.   

Should you have any questions on how a divorce may impact your benefits, please contact the WHOI Benefits Team at



As a further reminder, it is important to keep a record of your beneficiary designations and to update them whenever your circumstances change. With this in mind, please keep a copy of all beneficiary designations across your WHOI-sponsored benefits and review them periodically. Should you wish to make any changes, you may do so at any time.  For more information on how to update your beneficiary information, please click here.

Last updated: April 30, 2018