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What happens when a custodial parent passes away?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2022 | Child Custody |

The death of a parent can change a young child’s life in untold ways. Minor children in Texas can be affected in many ways, especially when it comes to child custody. One of the most looming questions is, who will become the main guardian of the children after something so tragic happens as losing their custodial parent?

Possibilities under the law

The most obvious answer is the first in line, and this individual would be the children’s noncustodial parent if paternity is not an issue. However, other possibilities include:

  • Grandparents
  • Aunts, uncles, cousins or others family members
  • Family friends
  • Godparents
  • The state

The importance of guardianship

The state is the last resort; however, if the options have run dry, the state will intervene and the children will be placed in foster care. Typically, no one wants that to happen, so it is imperative that parents name guardians for their children in estate plans, and if those plans don’t exist, that relatives step up to pursue guardianship of the children. Children in foster care are often alienated from their relatives, and their foster parents may even adopt them at some point.

Many complicated and challenging situations can affect child custody, and one of them is the death of a parent who has custody of a child or children. Texas residents who think they should be in line to have custody of the children when such a tragedy happens could benefit from seeking the help of an attorney. An experienced attorney can answer all of one’s questions and concerns while ensuring no mistakes are made during these trying times.