Who gets custody of a child if the parent who had primary custody dies?
When a custodial parent dies the noncustodial parent automatically obtains full custody of their child. The exception to this would be that if there is no noncustodial parent, the noncustodial parent cannot be found, or if his/her parental rights have previously been terminated.
In a situation where there is no other parent it is necessary to appoint a “Guardian” to take care of the child until he or she reaches adulthood. Ideally the parents will have prepared a Last Will and Testament before they passed away specifying who they want to take care of their kids (often this will be close relatives or family friends). But if the parents did not leave a Will appointing a Guardian then it is necessary to file an action asking the Court to decide who should care for the children. The Court will appoint a guardian based upon what is in the child’s best interest with preference to willing and able family members of the children.
Do you have questions about what to do for your children, grandchildren, or relatives in the aftermath of death or a divorce? Give us a call today at 855-254-2600 for answers.