If, in the event of a divorce, there is a settlement agreement drafted and signed by both parties, it stipulates and sets forth how the parties will operate post-divorce. This includes assigning custody of the child or children, child support, visitation, and spousal support. But, if the spouse paying child and spousal support dies, how can the other parent receive any support at all?
If the Court issued a financial Order, then there has essentially been a “debt” assigned, and therefore can be sued due to an unfulfilled obligation. In this scenario, the executors of the deceased spouse’s estate will be responsible for determining in what amount the estate will pay out.
If the divorce settlement and proceedings are finalized, and, for instance, the deceased spouse did not change the beneficiary from their spouse to another person in their Will, then that Will shall be enforced upon the conclusion of the divorce proceedings. In the event that there is no such Order issued, it is harder to argue that there was a “debt owed”. You can bring a claim under the Provision for Family and Dependents Act 1975, wherein the Court will determine based on these considerations:
- the financial resources and needs of the applicant
- the financial resources and needs of any other applicant
- the financial resources and needs of the beneficiaries
- any obligations and responsibilities of the deceased towards any applicant and any beneficiary
- the size and nature of the estate of the deceased
- any physical or mental disability of any applicant or beneficiary
- any other matter, including conduct, which the court may consider relevant.
Beyond this, there is not much else the surviving ex-spouse can do. The Court will definitely take into account what could have been reasonably expected to have been received in the event of a divorce, without the death of the former spouse.