What Happens When Death Occurs During Divorce Proceedings?

divorce lawyersAn unexpected death can upheave the lives of many, but the truth is there’s no working around or scheduling for tragic events. Tragedy can strike at any time, and divorce is no exception to this. When death does occur in the middle of divorce proceedings, how do the California family law courts proceed?

No one plans for a sudden or unexpected death, so today we wanted to provide an overview of what you might expect if you ever find yourself in this situation. As always, remember that we’re happy to offer more specific legal guidance via one of our free initial consultations. 

For now, here’s what you need to know about divorce proceedings whether one person suddenly passes away.

How a Spouse’s Death Affects The Terms of Your Divorce

The CA family court laws are equipped to handle nearly any time of scenario – and they’re no strangers to having to account for an unexpected death. In these instances, you should know that the divorce proceedings are instantly terminated as soon as one party passes away. 

Any outstanding issues, including asset division and custody matters, are then settled accordingly:

  • Asset division: Upon your spouse’s passing, you become the sole owner of all shared assets and community property. Separate property will also automatically go to you unless there’s a will in place that states otherwise. You also get any and all joint debt, as your name is on the contract/deed and the debt burden is still legally yours.
  • Child custody: As the only surviving parent, you are automatically granted custody of your children. Others, such as grandparents, could potentially try to petition for visitation or custody rights, something the courts are often willing to grant if it is in the best interests of the child. 
  • Child support: As the other parent is deceased, you will not be entitled to any child support. Remember that you do get access to shared assets and investments, which can help make up for any potential lost child support.

Consult With Our Seasoned Divorce Attorneys Today

We hope this post provides you with some idea of what happens when tragedy hits as you’re working through divorce proceedings with a soon-to-be-ex. That said, we want to reiterate that this is just a quick, sweeping overview of what to expect.

For proper legal advice, always be sure to speak to a qualified attorney. To help ensure we can offer the legal assistance that you need, we provide free consultations with no commitment required on your end. Schedule yours today with a seasoned family law attorney by calling us at R & S Law Group. 

Call us at (949) 825-5245 to learn more about how we can help you with matters involving child support, child custody, divorce proceedings, asset division, and more.