Does marriage over rule a previous divorce agreement?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does marriage over rule a previous divorce agreement?

My father-in-law got remarried 2 years ago and just recently passed. Unfortunately he did not have a Will but he did have a previous divorce agreement with my mother-in-law. In that agreement, it clearly states that if he were to die the land he owns is to be split between his 2 children. Due to these terms my mother in law did not ask for half of the land when things were being split up. Now that he has passed, his new wife is trying to steak claim to the land. Will the divorce papers be enough to prove his children have the right to the land? His new wife is claiming that her marriage to him nullifies the divorce agreement.

Asked on December 4, 2018 under Estate Planning, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The divorce papers have NO control over who gets the land: only a properly signed and witnessed will can control what happens to property after death. No other document or agreement controls the disposition of property after death--your father should have created a will reflecting the terms of the divorce. 
So without a will, your father's "estate" (the property, money, belongings, etc. he left behind), which includes the land, will be distributed according to "intestate succession" (the rules for who gets what when there is no will). In your state (FL), that means that his wife gets 1/2 of everything your father owned (including a 1/2 interest in the land) and his children split the other half (if there are two of you, you each get 1/4).

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