What Happens when a Custodial Parent Passes Away?

Pleasanton CA child custodyWhen people think of child custody modification, this conjures up images of bickering parents who can’t see eye to eye. However, there are other reasons that might lead to a custody modification in California, such as when a custodial parent passes away. The death of a parent is always a traumatic experience, further worsened by the uncertainty of the future that the child now faces.

When this happens in California, the family law courts must step in and try to find a new guardian, someone who can look after the child until he/she reaches adulthood. Not just anyone can waltz in and claim custody, however, and like with most family law legal proceedings, the process of appointing a guardian can be a lengthy and complicated affair.

Appointing a New Guardian

When seeking a suitable guardian for a child who has lost his/her custodial parent, a family court judge has the final say. Family and other living relatives are always considered first, provided that their background and current situation is suitable for the task. However, judges will also consider non-relatives who want to step up and parent the child. Regardless of whether there is any family relation or not, potential guardians are scrutinized at length to ensure that the appointment is in the best interests of the child.

In cases where a suitable guardian cannot be identified, the child will go into a foster care, where he/she could find an adoptive home. However, children who are taken in by the state often age out of foster care.

Talk to a Qualified Child Custody Attorney in CA

If you or someone you know is looking to become the appointed guardian of a child whose parents have passed, or are otherwise unable to care for him/her, you should be prepared for lengthy legal proceedings. Here, the assistance of a qualified family law attorney will prove to be invaluable.

We at the Law Office of James P. White are here to help. To learn more about this or other custody issues, or any issues relating to family law in CA, reach out to us at 925-271-0999. We offer free initial consultations, where we can speak about your specific needs and discuss your legal options.