What Happens When a Death Occurs During Divorce?

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The divorce process is fraught with questions and uncertainty. It also results in heightened anxiety and feelings of depression, anger, relief and a variety of other emotions. However, that uncertainty and swirl of emotions can reach a new level if one spouse unexpectedly dies prior to a final divorce decree.

From Almost Ex-Spouses to Widow (or Widower)

In addition to the legal issues under review as part of the divorce, the surviving spouse often must deal with questions pertaining to how to grieve and handling expressions of condolence from others. While the legal path to resolve matters may be more clear, both it and the emotional side of things can present challenges.

From the legal aspect:

  • A difficult matter takes on a new level of complexity.
  • When your spouse dies prior to a finalized divorce this does not entitle you to immediately take possession of all the assets that were the subject of division negotiations.
  • In most cases, the surviving spouse must navigate Trust and Estate laws in an attempt to obtain their share of the estate.
  • The will of the deceased spouse must be considered as part of the process, including consideration of surviving children and heirs.
  • If no will (or heirs) exist, the surviving spouse may be entitled to the all the assets.

From the emotional aspect:

  • Despite your open desire to end your marriage, it is normal to experience some grief at the death of your spouse. There was a shared love at one point, and an unexpected death can stir some of that history.
  • Seeking the help of a support group for Widowed spouses is not the sole domain of those who were still in a happy marriage at the time of the death.
  • Friends and family may not fully understand how to express condolences in such a situation.
  • While a divorce may have a divisive effect on a family, an unexpected death can have the opposite impact on relationships. You can use this opportunity to repair and restore damaged relationships with children, friends and other family members.

Discuss Your Divorce Options with an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Attorney

When a person makes the decision to pursue a divorce as a means for ending their marriage, it is important that they have the help of a knowledgeable legal professional who understands the state’s divorce laws. While you can not plan for every occurrence during a divorce, an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer can provide the guidance and insight you need to navigate the divorce process. Set up an initial consultation with the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to discuss the various options for proceeding with your plans for divorce.





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