Child Custody Issues: What Happens During the Death of the Custodial Parent?

Child Custody IssuesYou are well aware that child custody cases are nerve-wracking for many couples. Not only is it emotionally draining for the divorcing parents, but it is all the more devastating to the young child. If the divorcing parents cannot reach an agreement, one wins and the other one technically loses. The turmoil continues in the event of the death of a parent.

Child custody cases where one or both parents are deceased can sometimes be more confusing than the first time the case was heard:

If the Custodial Parent Dies…

Does the non-custodial parent automatically gets custody of their child? Yes and no. Unless the custodial parent has written a will saying that they are assigning a guardian to look after the child upon their demise, the non-custodial parent gets first choice of continuing child custody. Nonetheless, this is only applicable if the birth certificate of their child documents the non-custodial parent as the biological and legally recognised parent.

If Not…

The grandparents of the child on the side of the custodial parent can have the chance to take full custody of the child. This is in the event there are no verifiable records as to the paternity of the child. The grandparents will still have to apply for child custody in court to facilitate the smoother transfer of parental rights from the deceased custodial parent to the grandparents.

What if There are No More Grandparents?

The next kin or relative of the custodial parent can apply for child custody. If there are no immediate relatives, a third party child custody application may be filed through the help of family lawyers in Brisbane by interested individuals who have a well-established relationship with the child. Additionally, these individuals need to prove they have the capacity to work for the child’s best interests.

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If No One is Interested?

If no one lays claim to the child, it is the duty of the state to provide for their care. As such, the child may be sent to a foster care facility.

You simply do not know what will happen. As such, it is always better to go prepared. This means you have to write your will now and decide who takes care of your child upon your death.