What Happens if One Party Dies During Divorce Proceedings?


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have been established at the time of the party’s death, the divorce complaint and/or pending economic claims cannot be withdrawn except with consent of both the surviving spouse and the personal representative of the deceased spouse.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

Pearl shot with Teresa Mallon and Shayne


About the author

About Alicia Fastman

Alicia Fastman graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, then went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, DE. Alicia graduated from law school with pro bono distinction, completed a Certificate in Criminal Law, and focused her intensive studies within the fields of litigation and trial advocacy. Alicia joined LaMonaca Law in April of 2011 and is a Partner at the firm. She was selected as a Top Lawyer in Main Line Magazine in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 in the areas of Family Law and Divorce and has been named as a Best Lawyer in the areas of Adoption and Trial in the Delaware County Daily Times. Alicia is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Delaware County Bar Associations. Alicia resides in Delaware County with her dog, Leonard. In her time outside of the courtroom or office, she enjoys creating art, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.