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When a spouse dies during the divorce process

Of all things that happen in Kentucky this year, undoubtedly some instances will include married couples deciding to end their relationships. What happens after that will likely vary according to individual circumstances. However, most people who divorce have a few things in common, such as a need to adapt to new lifestyles and/or restructure their future financial or parenting plans.

Only a few spouses will face extenuating issues that arise when those they are divorcing pass away before the process is finalized. Some who have been through it say it's a strange experience going from a soon-to-be former spouse to a widow or widower overnight. There's a large support network available for those whose spouses die under more "normal" circumstances; however, there doesn't seem to be many resources to help those who were separated when their spouses died.

Some say it's a type of grief that society does not really recognize, which can cause emotional confusion and turmoil for those surviving spouses from whom they were almost divorced. One 27-year-old woman who lived through this type of experience said there's not even an adequate word to categorize the status of someone whose almost-ex-spouse dies before a settlement is achieved. She also said she faced personal problems at the funeral because her deceased almost-former spouse had spread nasty rumors about her in their community.

When divorce proceedings are halted due to a spouse's death, it obviously complicates things from a legal standpoint. If the spouses were in the midst of negotiating child support, for instance, or alimony, etc., the surviving spouse may be unsure what to do next. As in all aspects of the divorce process, an experienced Kentucky family law attorney can assist anyone navigating such circumstances in this state.

Source: The Washington Post, "What happens when a spouse dies in the middle of a divorce?", Robin Eileen Bernstein, May 23, 2017

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