What Happens if One Party Dies During Divorce Proceedings?
In Pennsylvania, if one party dies while a divorce is pending, the surviving spouse’s ability to proceed in obtaining a divorce decree or continuing forward with economic claims depends on whether grounds for divorce were established before the death. This means that if grounds for no-fault divorce or fault divorce were established while both spouses were alive, the surviving spouse may proceed with the divorce action. If grounds were not established, then the divorce proceedings would simply be concluded upon the death of one party.
Grounds for no-fault divorce are established either by consent of both parties or by affidavit of one party, without objection from the other party, after one year of separation has passed. Grounds for fault divorce are established after a hearing by an Order of Court.
If a divorce decree has not been entered, but grounds for divorce have been established at the time of the party’s death, the divorce complaint and/or pending economic claims cannot be withdrawn except with consent of both the surviving spouse and the personal representative of the deceased spouse. If no agreement can be reached, then the economic claims would be determined under the Divorce Code.
What happens if one party dies during divorce proceedings? For help with your divorce, call LaMonaca Law at 610-892-3877