Can back spousal support be collected from a deceased ex-spouse’s estate?

UPDATED: May 25, 2011

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Can back spousal support be collected from a deceased ex-spouse’s estate?

My fiance’s parents are divorced. In the divorce decree his dad was to pay his mom, however How does an ex-spouse collect agaist a deceased spousehe never did. He now has stage four cancer and is on hospice care. Does his divorce decree stand after his death? If so, how would his ex go about collecting on it?

Asked on May 25, 2011 under Family Law, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the all around situation.  There are some details here that have been left out that are important in trying to give guidance.  The first is the age of your fiance and next whether or not your soon to be mother in law ever took your fiance's father to court and obtained a judgement. In certain states children can collect up until a certain age on their own behalf should the father have never paid.  But they can be precluded after a certain time (called a statute of limitations).  And you can collect from the estate of a decedent if there is a judgement that has been entered for the child support.  The judgement is a debt of the estate.  Your soon to be mother in law needs to go and see an attorney asap. Good luck.

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