|(a) The surviving spouse is entitled to receive death benefits, unless subsection (b) of this section applies. The surviving spouse shall submit a certified copy of the marriage license, or satisfactory evidence of common-law marriage to the deceased employee, to the insurance carrier. (b) A surviving spouse who abandoned the employee, without good cause for more than one year immediately preceding the death, shall be ineligible to receive death benefits. The surviving spouse shall be deemed to have abandoned the employee if the surviving spouse and the employee had not been living in the same household for more than one year preceding the employee's death unless the spouse is: (1) hospitalized; (2) in a nursing home; or (3) living apart due to career choices, military duty, or other reasons where it is established their separation is not due to the pending breakup of the marriage. The
burden is on a person who opposes the claim of a surviving spouse to prove the spouse abandoned the deceased employee. (c) If more than one person claims to be the surviving spouse of the deceased employee, the commission shall presume the most recent spouse is the surviving spouse. This presumption may be rebutted by an individual who presents proof of a prior valid marriage to the deceased employee.