If my father filed to divorce my mother but withdrew it aftter shebecameterminally ill, can the estate contest the divorce?

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If my father filed to divorce my mother but withdrew it aftter shebecameterminally ill, can the estate contest the divorce?

My dad left my mother and they never legally separated but my father was living with another women. My mother also continued to hold joint accounts as she was living in the joint house and paying the bills. My father filed for the divorce and before it finalized my mother became terminally ill with lung cancer and died in 4 short weeks. Prior to her death, my dad pulled the divorce filing and as a result all assets went to him. As executor of the estate (son) could I have challenged the divorce further and sued for what was owed my mother?

Asked on July 26, 2011 New York

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for what happened.  Although you sis not say how far along the proceedings were and if your parents had entered in to a divorce agreement that was fully executed, the general rule is that you are still married until the divorce is finalized and so you are still entitled to inherit from your spouse's estate.  I know: it does not seem fair given the circumstances but I am fairly certain that challenging anything would only be a waste of your time and money.  But it may indeed be worth consulting with an estate attorney in your area just to be certain  and in case the agreement can be considered an executed contract.  Good luck.


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