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Divorce of Elizabeth & John Edwards Was Never Finalized

The recent passing of author and attorney Elizabeth Edwards has shed light on an issue seen frequently by divorce attorneys in Pasadena. Like many estranged spouses waiting to fulfill a legally-required separation time, Elizabeth and her husband, politician John Edwards, were not legally divorced at the time of her death.

Whispers of a divorce between the political power couple stared way back in 2008 during the presidential campaign, when Edwards' affair with his mistress, Rielle Hunter, became public knowledge and caused him to withdraw from presidential contention in January of that year. Edwards and his wife remained silent on the topic for months. Edwards eventually admitted he fathered a child with Hunter in 2007, yet he and Elizabeth refused to make any lengthy statements regarding their marriage until they officially announced their separation last January. According to the law, the divorce between John and Elizabeth could not be initiated until the couple lived apart for a minimum of 12 months. Elizabeth died one month shy of the minimum allotted separation period.

Mrs. Edwards' passing arrives on the eve of a publication of a tell-all book from John Edwards' former senior campaign aide Andrew Young. According to the book, Edwards asked Young to cover up Hunter's pregnancy as well the paternity of the now 3-year-old child. Young says Edwards told him that the concealing of Hunter and the child would only last until his wife's inevitable passing. Mrs. Edwards was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and battled the illness publicly for years. She spoke frankly about her disease, her family and her marriage in a pair of bestselling books. Her first book, Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, focused on the death of her son as well as her battle with cancer. Her second book,Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities, honestly discussed her husband's infidelity and her ongoing battle with cancer.

Elizabeth Edwards was 61 years old.

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