In some divorce situations, you may become entitled to some sort of support from your ex-spouse. This support is commonly done as either alimony or child support. When you separate from your spouse, your financial situation changes drastically, and this support can help you make ends meet. What happens when the unthinkable happens however, and your former spouse dies unexpectedly? That depends on what kind of support you are receiving from your ex-spouse, along with a few other factors as well
Alimony and child support are each handled in their own way, so for this article, we will approach them separately.
Alimony is a payment made to a former spouse to help support them when their financial situation is not stable enough because of the divorce. How long alimony is paid, how often, and for what amount are all unique to each case. In most states, though, if the spouse paying the alimony passes, alimony payments end, unless otherwise agreed upon in the divorce proceedings.
However, if your former spouse owes you any payments from before their passing, meaning they skipped a payment, or did not make a payment in full, you are still entitled to that money. When a person dies, their estate is used to pay former debts before being handed out to beneficiaries. You can speak to your divorce lawyer about claiming it from the former spouse’s estate. Just beware, this is not done automatically and you have a deadline this must be done by. If you wait too long, you might miss out and not get anything from the estate.
Child Support is money paid to a spouse that has legal custody, or majority custody, of a child(ren) from the marriage. Like alimony, the amount and payment schedule is done differently for each case, but unlike alimony, it will continue after the ex-spouse’s passing. Where does the money for the continued child support come from? It can be taken from various sources, including:
Estate: Much like alimony, the remaining child support can be taken from the ex-spouse’s estate.
Life Insurance: If the ex-spouse had a life insurance policy, child support might be taken out of it.
Social Security: If your ex-spouse worked, chances are they have social security savings that child support can be taken out of.
When your ex-spouse passes, the conditions of the child support agreement become open to alteration. Speak to your divorce lawyer to help you change the agreement to one that best works for you with the passing of your former spouse. If you are the one that was paying the child support for your former spouse, and the payee passes, child support may be owed to whoever gains custody of the child, unless custody is given to you. In some instances, full or partial custody might be awarded to a family member of your former spouse, and child support will have to be worked out between them and you.
Of course, this is all coming from the viewpoint of a divorce with no prior arrangements made in case of death. When going through the divorce process, it is possible to decide what will happen if one of the spouses dies. Most people don’t want to picture that situation, but if significant health issues exist, or a spouse has a dangerous occupation such as law enforcement, military service, or some industrial work, they might want to prepare for a worse case scenario. In these cases, the agreement made during the divorce proceedings will be used instead of the ones listed above.
Daytona Beach Child Support Attorney
If you are looking for guidance in dealing with the financial aspects of an ex-spouse’s passing, contact Lauren Koleilat. Lauren has helped countless clients with all parts of the divorce proceedings. She has experience in divorce court, mediation, child custody.