Child Custody: What Happens to a Surviving Child if the Custodial Parent Dies?

If a custodial parent passes away, the non-custodial parent, as well as other concerned family members, might be wondering who gets to care for the surviving child. If you’re one of these people, you need to know if you could possibly obtain child custody and how to go about it.

Below is some crucial information to help you get started.

Who Will Get Custody of the Child?

The answer to this question would be dependent on many factors. In general, however, possible candidates include the following:

  • The non-custodial parent, provided that paternity has been established and acknowledged. Otherwise, the biological father could establish paternity through testing.
  • The grandparents.
  • Other family members, including uncles, aunts, or cousins.
  • Close family friends, including godparents and neighbors.
  • The state.

Do note however that if the child becomes a “ward of the state,” he or she would automatically be a part of the foster system. Sadly, you won’t get any say as to who should adopt the child.

You could consider seeking visitation rights through family court, but you should also really think about getting guardianship of the child instead so that he or she won’t have to go into foster care.

If you want to know more, you can ask the advice of a top child custody attorney in Denver such as Lewis & Matthews, P.C.

How to get Custody of the Surviving Child If You’re a Third Party

The family court considers awarding you custody if you’re a godparent or close family friend if the following circumstances are true:

  • You could establish your relationship with the child;
  • If giving you custody is the in child’s best interests; and
  • If no other close family members are seeking custody.

The main thing to remember if you’re looking to get child custody – whether you’re the father, grandparent, relative, or family friend – is to let the court know of your intentions as soon as possible. If you’re a third party, it’s immensely vital that you contact the court.