Believing that her daughter’s “long, bitter, hostile divorce” had finally come to a close, an Illinois woman found herself making arrangements for her daughter’s funeral. The 34-year-old died a week ago, leaving no will and no instructions about her funeral beyond telling her brother years earlier that she’d like to be buried near her father, in Illinois. She died in Florida, near her son and her ex-husband.
Except, he wasn’t her ex-husband yet. The divorce was ruled on last October in a Florida court, but the judge hadn’t signed or filed the papers when the woman died. That put the grieving mother in the position of having to bend to the wishes of her estranged son-in-law, and he wanted to bury her daughter in Florida.
The couple had been separated for five years. They had joint custody of their 8-year-old son. Initially, the husband had agreed to the Illinois burial. But three days later, his mother informed the Illinois woman that he’d changed his mind. He wanted their son’s mother to be buried near the boy.
The husband declined to talk to the press, but he did say that there are friends and family in Florida who are trying to cope with his estranged wife’s death. But the deceased’s mother says the husband doesn’t even have a job, so it’s not even clear that he and his son will stay near the proposed burial site.
No job, of course, means the man may not be able to pay funeral expenses. If he can’t come up with the money, the decision may revert to his former mother-in-law.
There was no explanation offered for the court’s failure to file the paperwork.
Source: First Coast News, “Divorce Papers Not Filed or Signed by Judge Cause Mother to Lose Daughter’s Burial Rights,” 02/01/11