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What Happens if Your Spouse is Presumed Dead?

Losing a partner is devastating, but losing that partner with no certainty of their death can be even more emotionally distressing. Finding a way to move forward with your life when your spouse is presumed dead is difficult to do without some kind of closure. Legally, it can also be difficult to take certain actions, like get remarried, without evidence confirming the death of a spouse.

Evidence of Death

In the state of Florida, there is a legal way to officially declare your partner as dead.

Under Florida Statute §731.103(3), “a person who is absent from the place of his or her last known domicile for a continuous period of 5 years and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search and inquiry is presumed to be dead.”

The court will declare that the death occurred as of the last day of the five-year period, unless there is evidence to establish that the death occurred earlier, such as evidence of exposure to a specific peril. If there is evidence, the court may assign an earlier date of death.

Steps to Take if Your Spouse is Presumed Dead

In order to declare your partner as dead, you must file the petition in the Florida county where the person maintained his or her domicile. Or, if the person was not a resident of Florida at the time the absence commenced, it can be filed in any Florida county.

Once the court declares the missing person dead, the clerk of the court will issue an order, and a presumptive death certificate will be issued.

For help understanding Florida family law issues, turn to us at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group. We know how difficult these tough topics can be, which is why we’re at your side to help, no matter what. Call us today at 305-596-9951 to ask your family law questions.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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