Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What if my ex-husband/ex-wife dies during divorce proceedings?

Should either party pass on before a judgment is made, the marriage is naturally terminated and hence all matrimonial proceedings will stop? There is no further need for a court order.

For an order of maintenance, both parties must be alive. In the event where a husband passes away, and the wife had wished to claim for maintenance, this is also not possible in the family court. From the death of a spouse, the law of succession takes over in the distribution of the estate.

However, maintenance can likely proceed on two criteria:

Maintenance has been ordered before the husband’s death; and

1 1) Payment is in the form of lump sum, or arrangements have already been discussed and secured prior to the death.

In the case of lump sum, the amount can be simply taken from his estate. However, in the case of periodic payments, the wife is likely to not be able to obtain payments unless there have already been secured sources of funding as discussed.

Should you have any further questions on family law or require legal representation, kindly contact Gloria James-Civetta & Co on 6337-0469 for a free consultation with our family lawyer, or email to

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