In the case of Sobol v. Sobol, the Husband appealed the equitable distribution provision of the trial court’s final decree of divorce, challenging the trial court’s order requiring him to designate Wife as a beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
Husband claimed that the court erred in ordering him to name Wife as the beneficiary of the policy because Wife was never a beneficiary of the life insurance during the marriage. Wife argued that although the policy named the family’s trust as the beneficiary, she is a beneficiary of the trust and that it was the intent of the parties that she benefit from the policy during the marriage. The Court of Appeals (“COA”) discussed that the relevant statute, Virginia Code §20-107.3(G)(2), states that a trial court may order a party to designate a spouse as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy as permitted by Code §20-107.1:1(A). That provision provides that in cases where spousal support has been awarded, the trial court may order a party to designate the other party as a beneficiary of life insurance, provided that the payee has been designated as a beneficiary of such policy during the marriage.
The COA concluded that since Wife was never a beneficiary of the life insurance during the marriage, the court lacked the authority to order Husband to name the Wife of his life insurance policy going forward.