High-Profile Divorce Addresses Whether Ashes Are Divisible Assets
The matter of property division during divorce usually involves items of monetary value: homes, savings, cars, etc. A couple might get hung up on a more personal type of item every once in a while, but a couple that some might recognize from a high-profile drunk driving homicide case is fighting over something quite rare.
The couple lost their adult son in a fatal drunk driving crash involving a wealthy and well-known man as the careless driver. He was convicted of the homicide and also held accountable in civil court. But the arguments have moved beyond the driver's role in the 23-year-old's death. Now, the victim's divorced parents are fighting over how to divide not just their assets but their son's ashes.
It's a legal matter that no parents ever want to have to face. Deciding who gets what out of a divorce can be an emotional and complex enough process. The parties' state of Florida doesn't include a person's ashes on its list of items eligible to be managed by property division standards. Therefore, it is essentially up to the parents and their attorneys to fight it out if they can't come to a settlement before a court must make its ruling.
A separate matter of interest in this divorce is that of alimony payments. Initially when the divorce was settled, the ex-husband was ordered to make support payments to his wife. When the parents both received millions of dollars in damages as a result of the civil lawsuit against the drunk driver, financial situations changed. A court agreed with the ex-husband in that he should no longer have to pay spousal support to his ex.
This family's situation shows how though divorce might not be rare, rare circumstances do present themselves in different divorce cases. Our family law attorneys can help address the sometimes complicated, always sensitive matters that come with divorce such as property division and alimony.
Source: CBS12 News, "Bitter divorce grabs spotlight for parents of Goodman victim," Ben Wolford, Feb. 1, 2013