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What happens when a custodial parent dies?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2022 | Family Law |

The death of a parent can be life-changing for a child regardless of the child’s age. It may be especially so in Florida when child custody issues come into play and the parent who died was the custodial parent. This begs the question then of who will get primary custody of the child or children after such a tragedy occurs?

It stands to reason that the first in line would be a non-custodial parent, if paternity is not in question. However, here are some other possibilities, including the following:

  • Grandparents
  • Other family members, such as aunts, uncles and cousins
  • Friends of the family
  • Godparents
  • The state

The state is a last resort. However, if there are no other options, the state of Florida will step in and the children will end up in the foster system. This is a main reason why relatives may wish to pursue guardianship of the children.

Seeking help and support for these situations

There are many variables that can affect child custody, and sadly, one of those is the death of a parent who has primary custody. Ultimately, a judge will make these often-difficult decisions based on what is believed to be in the children’s best interests. Those who believe they should be in line to have custody of the children when a custodial parent dies would be wise to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced Florida family law attorney.