What If A Spouse Dies Before The Divorce Is Finalized

A marriage is considered dissolved once one of the spouses is deceased. Any unresolved claims against the spouse then have to be filed against the estate. While there is a possibility that a provisional settlement relating to financial obligations or alimony payments may be upheld and eventually paid from the estate, there may be some interruptions and delays while the estate is being contested or processed through probate court.

Child support obligations end at death. While the child might reasonably expect to receive a settlement from the estate, any arrangements for educational support or health insurance continuation for minor children may also be disrupted by a parent’s death.

Many marriages fall apart over health issues, and there is a relatively high correlation of unhappy marriages with increased medical conditions and suicide rates. When you add in the fact that May-December marriages are common when one partner is a high-net-worth individual, it will come as no great shock that the legal complications of death and divorce must often be dealt with in tandem.

An experienced divorce lawyer will counsel you on the exposures you may have if your spouse dies before a divorce is finalized.  Your attorney may also employ the services of co-counsel and/or of-counsel experienced in trust and estate matters to help guide your next move. Your attorney will assist in nailing down in writing, as soon as possible, acceptable solutions to murky financial and child support issues that might be affected by the possible future death of your ill spouse. Even with all due caution, there is no way to guarantee that death will come at a ‘convenient time’ for the widowed spouse, but forewarned is forearmed – if divorce is your goal but significant medical issues on the part of your spouse are on the horizon and could pose a problem, you should seek to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Hirsch Legal, LLC is one of Connecticut’s top divorce and family law practices. Our principal, Carmina K. Hirsch (formerly Tessitore), has annually been selected as a “Super Lawyers Connecticut Rising Star” and has received numerous accolades over the years for client satisfaction.  If you are involved in a divorce or child custody dispute, there is no better advocate to defend your interests in a Fairfield or New Haven County courtroom. Our office in Shelton is within convenient driving distance of Fairfield and New Haven County’s urban centers: Danbury, Bridgeport, Westport and Stamford, Waterbury, Milford, and New Haven. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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