Determining child custody after a parent dies

by | Mar 22, 2017 | Child Custody |

When a parent dies in California , there may be some question as to who gets custody of his or her children. In some cases, a noncustodial parent may be granted custody if paternity has been established. Paternity can be established by a biological father putting his name on a child’s birth certificate. Alternatively, a father may sign an acknowledgment of paternity form and file it with the court.

If it is not clear if paternity has been established, another family member such as a grandparent or an aunt may be able to obtain custody of the child. If this is not possible, a family friend or another trusted individual may be granted custody. In the event that no one is willing or able to care for a child after a parent dies, the state may have to intervene.

Therefore, family members or others who wish to maintain visitation with the child may be better served by asking to become the child’s guardian. This may prevent the child from entering the foster care system. It is important to note that concerned relatives may have little to no say as to where the child is placed. Concerned relatives may also wish to adopt a child after he or she is placed into foster care.

When determining who gets custody of a minor, a judge will have to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Those who want to pursue custody may wish to talk with an attorney. This may also be a good idea for those looking to adopt a family member from foster care. Legal counsel may be able to help an individual take steps to establish that he or she is the best person to provide for a child.