Family Court War Stories

Posted: April 8, 2018 by Nazim in Uncategorized

This week’s episode tackles the wild and unpredictable world of Family Court, where everyone is nuts and there are no rules.  Brett and Nazim cover the case of Sveen v. Melin, where the Court is asked whether a revocation upon divorce statute automatically changes a life insurance beneficiary retroactively, or if people have to still do it themselves.  Law starts at (06:00).

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  1. Greg S. says:

    The MN law is perfectly constitutional for insurance contracts that were signed after the law took effect. It is also more likely that the law would have contracts clause issues if the law took effect after the insured died. Ex-wife would have a vested interest in the contract. Here, the insurance contract was signed, then the law took effect and then the insured died. When the law took effect the ex wife had no enforceable contract right. The insured could change the beneficiary with no need to change the contract in any way. That is why the kids should win this case


    • Nazim says:

      I think that explains why the wife shouldn’t necessarily win. It doesn’t really explain why the kids should win.


      • Greg S. says:

        Kids win under current MN law. The only question is whether the application of the that law in this situation violates the contracts clause. If it does not kids win. The insurance contract gives husband right to name a beneficiary. Under the contract the insurance company is obligated to pay his named beneficiary, which he can change at any time without altering the contract. The law in question does not change the obligations of the insurance company, but rather, only changes his named beneficiary. Because ex-wife had no vested interest at the time the law changed the beneficiary interest, it did not impair any contract rights. Love the podcast.


      • Nazim says:

        The problem is that the law sets a default that the testator could have changed. He could have had his ex-wife remain the beneficiary after the divorce, had he been alive. So, I’ll take your word for it that the kids would win, but I’m not sure that either outcome is right. It should be what the testator wanted, and he signed a thing saying what he wanted, and that thing said that the beneficiary was his ex-wife.


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