Including Former Spouses in Obits?

Is it common to include an ex-husband or wife as a survivor in an obituary? Never really though about it before, but am currently experiencing it first-hand. I guess it makes sense, but I didn’t know what the normal policy/rule was.

It is common enough. Some newspapers have funny rules and won’t accept what they consider non-immediate family members, while the paper I worked at would list your dog as your survivor if you wanted. But if former spouses are on good terms and have children together, there no reason why you shouldn’t. It’s quite proper. There is no “normal policy/rule.”

That’s what I figured. My husband’s ex-wife died Saturday, and I’m just having a weird week. Not sure what my role is, yet being kind of a helper/planner. Just trying to be gracious and helpful without stepping on toes… Man, that’s hard to pull off! If any of you have ever been in this situation, you may rest assured that any advice or anecdote will be quite welcome. If this needs a forum change, that’s fine.

That can be an uncomfortable spot. My husband’s exes are still alive, but it was sort of odd when his ex-MIL and FIL died and he hugged his ex at their funerals. Natural behavior though, and not unexpected under the circumstances.

I just read an obit today that described one of the survivors as “friend and ex-husband”. I thought that was nice.

I can’t think of any specific anecdote, just to tell you that in the 25 years I wrote and edited obits, it happened hundreds of times, regardless of whether the parties have married others or have had children together.

It occurs to me that in some cases, the obit can be a way to convey information other than the death to people who haven’t seen the deceased in a while. Maybe they didn’t know there had been a divorce, but this not only lets them know, but clues them in that it’s not acrimonious.