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(a) General rule.--In all matrimonial causes, the court may either dismiss the complaint or enter a decree of divorce or annulment of the marriage.
(b) Contents of decree.--A decree granting a divorce or an annulment shall include, after a full hearing, where these matters are raised in any pleadings, an order determining and disposing of existing property rights and interests between the parties, custody, partial custody and visitation rights, child support, alimony, reasonable attorney fees, costs and expenses and any other related matters, including the enforcement of agreements voluntarily entered into between the parties. In the enforcement of the rights of any party to any of these matters, the court shall have all necessary powers, including, but not limited to, the power of contempt and the power to attach wages.
(c) Bifurcation.--In the event that the court is unable for any reason to determine and dispose of the matters provided for in subsection (b) within 30 days after the report of the master has been filed, it may enter a decree of divorce or annulment. Upon the request of either party and after a hearing, the court may order alimony pendente lite, reasonable counsel fees, costs and expenses and may make a temporary order necessary to protect the interests of the parties pending final disposition of the matters in subsection (b).
(d) Substitution for deceased party.--If one of the parties dies after the decree of divorce has been entered, but prior to the final determination in such proceeding of the property rights and interests of the parties under this part, the personal representative of the deceased party shall be substituted as a party as provided by law and the action shall proceed.
(e) Costs.--The court may award costs to the party in whose favor the order or decree shall be entered or may order that each party shall pay their own costs or may order that costs be divided equitably as it shall appear just and reasonable.
(f) Equity power and jurisdiction of the court.--In all matrimonial causes, the court shall have full equity power and jurisdiction and may issue injunctions or other orders which are necessary to protect the interests of the parties or to effectuate the purposes of this part and may grant such other relief or remedy as equity and justice require against either party or against any third person over whom the court has jurisdiction and who is involved in or concerned with the disposition of the cause.
After reviewing caselaw, my interpretation is this: If a party dies after divorce proceedings have started but before the final determination, a personal representative for the estate will be a substitute for the deceased party and the divorce will go forward as if the decedent were still alive. In this way, the Divorce Court continues the decision-making process, not the probate court.
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