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Death of a Spouse While Divorce is Pending 1

Life is unpredictable. Things can happen and make things more complicated. One of those unexpected things would be your spouse passing away in the middle of your divorce proceedings. As much as no one wants this to happen and as much as this might sound a little far-fetched, it’s not impossible. In case you’re afraid this might happen, continue reading on to find out what happens to your divorce in the event of your spouse’s untimely death.

The Divorce Proceedings

Of course, the first thing that might come into mind would be what happens to your divorce proceedings. In the event that your spouse should die in before your divorce comes to a conclusion, everything will come to a halt. Your divorce will be called off. Divorce proceedings cannot continue if one of the spouses dies. Just think about it. You obviously won’t need a divorce because your spouse’s death puts an end to your marriage. You will be a widow or a widower. If anything, that’s one less thing to worry about.

Divorce-Related Details

What might be a little more complicated would be dealing with the aftermath of your spouse’s death. Depending on what state you’re in, you may still have to sort out a few details regarding your divorce. In most states, things such as property division, child custody, and payment of child support don’t need to be discussed. Since you were still married to your spouse when they died, all these things will be passed on to you. In some states though, you may still have to continue sorting out these aspects of the divorce. Some states may also take into consideration the will of your spouse when figuring out who gets what in the event of their death. The best way to find out would be to check your state’s laws or to talk to your divorce lawyer about it.

As much as the situation might sound complicated, what happens after your spouse dies in the middle of your divorce proceedings isn’t that complicated. In fact, it seems a little straightforward. Of course, it would be wrong to be glad if something like this were to happen or to wish something like this would happen. But, if anything, at least you’re somehow prepared for it should it happen.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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One thought on “Death of a Spouse While Divorce is Pending

  • Elise Johnston, Lic TX PI

    What if your spouse died intestate? There are all sorts of issues that will arise. This is a point at which an estate attorney would be very helpful. As a PI I have seen cases like this (and they are very messy to say the least). Thanks for posting.