Getting Separated or Divorced

Becoming legally separated or divorced or terminating a domestic partnership* can have a variety of financial impacts.  Be sure to consider the following:

  1. Remember that support is available to help you with this transition through the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program through Carebridge.
  2. Changes to your benefits
    • You have 31 days from the date of the divorce or legal separation to make changes to your benefits. Remember, if your spouse gains other coverage, such as through their own employer, that is also a qualifying status change that allows you 31 days to change your enrollment.
      • You must remove your former spouse and any former dependents from medical, dental/vision and life insurance coverage when they lose eligibility.  If you are required by a court decree to provide the former spouse or dependents with coverage, you will need to make alternate arrangements, such as paying for coverage they may be eligible for under another employer’s plan. A court’s requirement to provide coverage does not alter the benefits eligibility policy for the SU plans.  Any family members whose coverage is terminated will be offered COBRA  so that they may continue coverage at their own expense.
      • Enroll in medical, dental or vision coverage (with proof you lost coverage under your ex-spouse’s plans)
      • Increase or decrease your health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA), as applicable
      • Increase or decrease your supplemental life insurance
    • Contact the HR Service Center to make any of these changes.  If you do not contact us within 31 days, you must wait for the next annual enrollment to enroll in benefits. Failure to remove an ineligible dependent timely may result in significant financial repercussions.
    • You will need to provide a copy of your separation or divorce documentation from the court to terminate coverage for a legal spouse.  If you are terminating coverage for a domestic partner, you must complete the Termination of Domestic Partnership form.
    • Review the Remitted Tuition and Dependent Tuition policies to determine any impact on a former spouse or dependent who is using benefits at the time of the legal separation or divorce.
    • Consider any changes you need to make to your voluntary retirement contributions or auto/home insurance
  3. Review and update your beneficiaries
    • You may wish to update your beneficiary designations for basic & supplemental life insurance
    • Generally, your spouse automatically was the beneficiary for your 403(b) retirement account, unless he or she signed written consent for you to name someone else as the beneficiary of more than 50% of your account.  If you are no longer legally married, you should consider changing or designating someone as your beneficiary to ensure that your wishes are followed. If you had previously designated your spouse as your beneficiary, your account will still be paid to him or her unless you take action to update your designation.  If you die without having a named beneficiary, your account balance will be paid to your estate. Call TIAA at 855.842.2873 or visit tiaa.org/syr for assistance.
  4. Update your name, address, emergency contact, and payroll tax withholding, as needed
    • By logging into MySlice, you can update your address, phone number, email, emergency contact and military status in the Personal Services section.
    • While in MySlice, you can also update your federal and state tax withholding status
    • You can also add a Preferred Name, which will display in many University software systems, including as your email display name. To change your name in University records, you must provide a copy of your new Social Security Card issued in your new name. Complete a Name Change Form and submit to the HR Service Center
    • To change your gender, contact the HR Service Center

*For some benefits, the termination of a domestic partnership may also permit enrollment changes; however, federal tax regulations or policy limitations may apply.

Contact the HR Service Center at 315.443.4042 for additional assistance.