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Legislative Update: Could Child Support Continue After Death?

As it stands now, support generally terminates upon the death of the payer. By definition, a dead payer is, no longer living or earning funds to support their children. However, in June of 2012, Representative Joseph Petrarca sponsored House Bill 2528 which seeks to change that.

This bill is a proposed amendment to the divorce code which extends the obligation of child support for a minor or unemancipated child to the estate of the obligor. Should this bill pass, then a Court will review the assets of the estate and produce an Order setting aside a reasonable portion of the assets to be used for support of the child.

Interestingly, the text of the bill reads that this is done "to the extent necessary" for support of the minor or unemancipated child. Traditionally, life insurance benefits are used to support children after decease. House Bill 2528 may be an attempt to bridge the gap of support when a party lacks sufficient life insurance but has sufficient assets in the estate.

Note that this Bill is not law. It is merely a proposed amendment. As of right now, it has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and is pending further action. Read the text of the proposed language here. Because it was not enacted during the 2011-2012 legislative action, it is technically "dead." However, it may be reintroduced in the 2013-2014 session.