Khloe and Lamar: It’s Complicated. by Leslie O’Neal

The Kardashian clan just can’t seem to stay out of the headlines these days (not that they are trying….). But this Fall has been especially difficult for the media-loving family.  On October 13, 2015, Khloe’s estranged husband, Lamar Odom was found unconscious at a brothel in Nevada and rushed to a Las Vegas hospital.  He was placed in a medically-induced coma for several days after opiates and cocaine were found in his system.  The news of his condition was grim at first, and Khloe and her crew immediately rushed to his side.

What was revealed a short time later was that despite having separated over two years ago, Khloe and Lamar are still legally married.   Khloe originally filed for divorce in December of 2013.  For the first year of the divorce process, US Weekly reported that things remained unresolved because Khloe was unable to even track Lamar down to get him to sign anything.  He was reportedly still hoping for reconciliation at the time, despite that Khloe had begun seeing other people – then rapper French Montana and now NBA star James Harden.  It was later reported that Khloe and Lamar signed a tentative settlement agreement this past summer, though an official divorce decree had never been entered by a judge and the case was still pending.  Lamar’s sudden and critical medical condition, coupled with their still married status, placed Khloe in the unexpected position of being charged with making medical decisions on Lamar’s behalf.  Similarly in Georgia, if one spouse designates the other on his/her Healthcare Directives form without modifying it, that designation will remain even if a divorce case is pending.

Because recent reports show that Lamar is slowing improving, it seems that the estranged couple avoided an even bigger legal challenge, which is what happens when one party passes away unexpectedly during a divorce proceeding.   Even if a divorce case is pending, the death of one party terminates the divorce proceeding instantly because there is no longer a marriage to dissolve.  This can be a significant game changer in terms of asset division, particularly if there are assets solely titled in the name of the deceased spouse.  Suddenly the assets in deceased party’s name are governed not by equitable division principles under divorce law – which would presumably allow the surviving spouse to receive half of the assets – but rather by the terms of the Last Will & Testament of the deceased spouse.  So if the deceased spouse modified his or her will to leave out the other party, or had never included the other party in his/her Will at all, the surviving spouse would not receive any of the asset that he/she would’ve previously been entitled to under the divorce case.  That spouse would have to Petition the Probate Court for support from the decedent’s Estate.

Thankfully for Lamar and Khloe, their situation looks to be on the mend.  Lamar’s medical condition is reportedly improving, and the couple are reconciling – at least from a legal standpoint that is.  On October 21, 2015 Khloe formally dismissed her divorce petition, leaving the couple right back where they started.  Hopefully for these two, they can work through the complications and patch things up in more ways than one.