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Divorce and Death – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It can happen that your spouse passes before the final divorce decree has been issued, or while you are separated. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions regarding scenarios such as these:

What happens to my spouse’s estate if he dies without a will while we are legally separated?
If your spouse dies intestate, the estate will be divided according to Georgia’s intestacy laws. Since you were legally married, you would most likely have access to the estate, but you should consult an attorney.

If my name is still on the house after divorce, am I still entitled to it after my spouse dies?
If the divorce decree left you as joint owners, then you would be entitled to a portion of the value of the house. However, if the decree stated that he got all interest in the home, then it would belong to his estate, and would thus be distributed according to your will or the state’s intestacy laws in the absence of a will.

What happens if my ex-spouse dies before the settlement is fully paid?
You’ll need to talk to an attorney and determine what was court-ordered and thus enforceable against the estate.

Will his estate honor the child support provision for college expenses as per our divorce decree?
No, child support obligations end at death. However, your child should be entitled to receive a portion of his estate.

What happens if one spouse passes away before the divorce is final?
If you are not divorced yet, then you are still legally married and assets are divided accordingly (a divorce cannot go through if one person is deceased). If there is a will, the estate will be distributed according to the will; in the absence of one, it will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws.