What Happens If My Spouse Passes Away During Our Divorce?
It’s not a pleasant situation to be in, but unfortunately, it does happen. If your spouse passes away while you’re in the middle of a divorce, you may wonder what will happen and whether you can continue with the divorce. While there are many factors that can affect this decision, here are some things to consider if this happens to you.
Do Divorce Proceedings Continue After Death?
The death of a spouse is a tragic event and one that can take many people by surprise. During this time, it is important to remember that there are many legal issues that need to be addressed. One of these issues is whether the divorce proceedings will continue or not after the death of one spouse.
If the divorce proceedings have not yet been finalized, they will stop when one spouse dies. This is true even if you’ve negotiated any of the terms of your divorce, as it takes two people to get divorced and there is no legal way to proceed after one individual passes away.
What Happens to Our Property and Our Finances?
If your spouse dies during your divorce proceedings, you’ll typically assume ownership of your community property. With that being said, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If your spouse has named someone other than you as a beneficiary in their will, then that person will receive the assets rather than you.
You will become individually responsible for any marital debts you and your spouse had during the marriage. That includes credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and mortgages.
You can’t just walk away from these debts — they still belong to the estate of your deceased spouse and must be paid off before assets are distributed. The only exception is if you have a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise.
What Happens to Our Children?
If your partner passes away during your divorce proceedings and you have children together, the children will be placed into your custody under most circumstances. If the court has a reason to believe you are not fit to be a sole caregiver, this may impact the outcome of the custody decision.
If you were paying child support, you will no longer have this obligation. Alternatively, if your partner was paying child support, those payments will stop. Under these circumstances, you may assume ownership of assets like your spouse’s retirement funds or a death benefit, which can help recover some of the financial impacts of becoming the sole financial provider for your children.
Find Divorce Experts in Michigan with Gucciardo Family Law
Divorce can be difficult and complex. If you are considering divorce, it is important to find an attorney who is experienced in Michigan family law. Gucciardo Family Law has been helping clients throughout Michigan, serving thousands of people with their divorce cases.
We understand what it takes to successfully resolve your case and how to handle the emotional aspects of divorce as well as the legal issues that must be resolved.
If you’re going through the unique scenario of losing your spouse during your divorce proceedings, contact us today. We are happy to help you navigate this challenging time with confidence and understanding.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.