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Woman discovers husband filed for divorce 8 years before death

Imagine going through a spouse's belongings shortly after his or her death only to learn that they had filed for divorce years earlier. This recently happened to an elderly Brooklyn woman. Most people will not have to deal with divorce issues after their spouse is dead, but it's important for those dealing with divorce issues to be aware of their rights and try to avoid being taken advantage of financially like this man tried to do to his wife.

The 75-year-old woman was married to her 65-year-old husband for 30 years when he died. As she was going through her late husband's possessions, she found divorce papers dated 2002 that claimed she had abandoned him. The woman told newspapers the couple had no children and had lived together until her husband died. She said they were happy.

The man had gotten an uncontested divorce by claiming she had left him for financial reasons. The papers said that the woman had moved out of their home and had been served with divorce papers. She had to prove that a fake address was used and the papers were a forgery. The man's children from a previous marriage would have inherited his estate if he were single. However, a judge threw out the divorce, meaning the woman will get her husband's life insurance and pension benefits.

This case is an abnormal example of something many people try to do with divorce: treat their spouse unfairly. And it's hard to see how the woman could have prevented this from happening, but in order to get a fair divorce settlement, it's important to understand what legal rights a spouse has.

Source: Fox News, "New York woman reportedly learns husband divorced her eight years before his death," Nov. 19, 2012

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