What Every Pending Divorcee Should Know If Their Spouse Passes Away During The Divorce

Posted on: 25 July 2019

When it comes to divorce law, much of the basics seems to be widely known and understood. However, there are always those cases that raise new questions or bring about different and unusual situations. For example, what happens if you've filed for divorce, but your spouse passes away before the divorce can be finalized? If you have found yourself in this situation, it is important that you know what you can expect of your divorce proceedings and everything thereafter.

What Happens To The Divorce Case?

You cannot legally obtain a divorce when there are no longer two parties to consent to it. That means that if your spouse passes away before your divorce is final, you legally become a surviving spouse. Your divorce case will be closed and your marital status will change to widow or widower. 

What Happens To The Asset Division?

Even if you and your spouse came to clear agreements on the division of property and signed the property division plan, when he or she is no longer alive to retain their portion of the assets, the assets are distributed according to the will that's on file or, in the absence of a will, the assets are passed to you as the surviving spouse.

What Happens To The Child Support Order?

If you received a child support order when you and your spouse separated, that order will be nullified if he or she passes away. You can only receive support for as long as the payer is alive. You may still receive a payment or two if there are payments still in the child support system being processed, but you won't receive any subsequent ones afterward.

What Happens If The Death Was An Accident?

If your spouse was killed in an accident that was someone else's fault, you may have the legal grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. Some states permit surviving spouses to file a suit on behalf of the deceased. You'll need to ask an attorney to find out if your state is one of them.

As you can see, there are several things that you should consider if your spouse has passed away in the midst of your divorce proceedings. If you have any other questions, contact your divorce law attorney today. He or she can clarify anything you may be uncertain of and help you to understand how you should proceed.