Funerals/Vendictive Ex


I am in desperate need of some advice. My son recently passed away June 2012 the cemetery site was ready for a headstone the first of September. When my son passed my father stepped in on my behalf and made arragements with my ex-husband that we would pay for the services, casket, headstone, my sons suite and obituary.  My Ex was to pay for the cementary plot.  We would put receipts together and compensate the other to ensure we both paid half.  My Ex has been bitter with me for 10 years. We had an ughy divorce and an even uglier child custody case leaving him custody of my now very bitter daughter and I had custody of my son who recently just passed at 21 years old. Tired of waiting on my Ex I decided to move forward in purchasing the headstone. My son's birthday is coming up in January so I was hoping to have it done by then. This is when I just felt another knife threw my heart I found out that my Ex not only purchased my son's plot on he also purchased the one right next to him. Apparently I have no rights to NOT  only put a headstone on my 21 year old son but now I can't even lay next to my baby either?  My son lived with me and was not even accepted by his father or  in his father's home, please tell me I have some rights as his mother? We live in AZ and its NOT a Catholic Cementary. The cementary themselves has reached out to my Ex numerous times and he plays games like he doesn't speak English or says he is not there or just hangs up.  All I want to do is pay respect to my son and place a headstone.

Typically the lot-owner gets to call the shots, so as long as your son stays buried in a plot your husband bought, your husband calls the shots. You could go to Probate Court and get an order to move your son to a plot you purchase, and then you would have some control. As the last custodial parent, the Probate Court will likely be on your side. An alternative would be to buy a plot, bury a picture or other memento of your son's and put up a marker of your own choosing for him.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

©2016 All rights reserved.