What Happens If Your Spouse Passes Away During the Divorce?
The unthinkable can happen at a moment’s notice. Going through a divorce is a tough and tumultuous time for those involved. What if your spouse passes away during the divorce, leaving so many issues unresolved? While your grief may be mixed with an odd sense of relief, it does lead to changes in the process that could make finalizing the divorce more difficult.
How Do Divorce Proceedings Change After One Spouse Passes Away?
Often times the courts will decide that there is no longer a need to grant a divorce after the passing of one of the parties involved, as the marriage has now ended in death. However, even without the divorce, some states will still have jurisdiction over marital property. This means that the courts will use its power to decide what will happen to the assets acquired during the marriage. The judge has the ability to divide marital assets and debts between the living spouse and the decedent’s estate according to the state’s family law code.
If there is no estate in place, you will typically become the owner of all community property. If there are any marital debts, those will also become your responsibility as well.
What Happens to the Children if One Parent Passes Away During a Divorce?
When it comes to child custody and child support, the surviving parent will gain full legal custody unless it is deemed that the children are unsafe with the surviving parent. If child support was being determined during the divorce proceedings and the spouse who was to assume the role of paying monthly child support is the one who passes away, the surviving parent may be entitled to death benefit or a life insurance payout through your spouse’s employer. These assets and funds can make up for the financial support you should have received if your spouse hadn’t passed away.
If you are currently in the middle of a divorce and are experiencing the pain and suffering of having your spouse pass away during the process, having an experienced attorney who knows their way around family law is necessary to not only keep your divorce on track, but to help ease the worry and stress involved during this life changing period. Russell Spatz has decades of experience and always puts his clients and their needs first. Call him today at (305) 442-0200.