Is someone still legally married if they have been separated for 8 years

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Is someone still legally married if they have been separated for 8 years

Husband passed away been separated for
at least 8 years, have filed for a
divorce then but he never signed his
papers so I was wondering if I am
responsible for his debts

Asked on October 7, 2018 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless and until a final decree of divorce has been issued by a court, a marriage is not ended. This is true no matter how long that a couple may have been separated. As for your husband's debts, that will depend on specific state law. In PA, my research suggests that one spouse is not liable for the other spoue's debts unless the debt is a joint obligation (i.e. in both of their names) or the oter spouse has otherwis agreed to be obligated for the debt. That having been said, there is a state statute that provides that a spouse can be held liable for necessities which were purchased in the name of the other spouse but used by both. Funeral and medical expenses are not such debts. However, if you are seeking to inherit from the estate, the debts and medical/funeral expenses that are legitimately owed by the deceased spouse or the estate must be paid before estate funds may be distributed. At this point, you should contact a local attorney who can best advise you further.


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