What Happens to Children Left Behind When Both Parents Die?

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Child Custody Lawyer Bloomington, IL

Child custody battles in divorce or parentage cases can be difficult, though these cases will generally result in the child being placed in the custody of one or both parents. Custody questions can be entirely different, however, if the case arises due to the death or disappearance of the natural parents. In some situations, the fate of the child may be relatively clear while, in others, the family law courts may be involved in making the determination of who will raise the child. In either situation, any concerned family members should discuss the situation with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible.

When One or Both Parents Die

When two parents are divorced or unmarried and the primary custodial parent dies, the other parent will likely get custody of the child, though they must file a custody petition with the family courts. Generally speaking, the court will grant custody in this situation unless they determine the living parent is not fit to care for the child. Reasons for a finding of unfitness may include history of violence, substance abuse, or previous abandonment.

If the second parent passes away or both parents are in a tragic accident together, the child’s future will depend on many different circumstances. One or both parents may have had a will that specified the child’s guardian in the event of their death. In such cases, the court must still review and approve the decision. If there is no will or direction for who will raise the child, the court will choose someone to raise the child, generally a close family member. Individuals may also file petitions with the court to be chosen and there will be a hearing to determine whether to grant the petition. If no one suitable is found, the child will likely be placed in the custody of the state for placement.

Find Out How an Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help

When a child is left behind due to death or other circumstances, there are many questions that relatives may have. If you are trying to be the guardian of a child or fight for other rights after the death of a loved one, you should contact a skilled family law attorney who is thoroughly familiar with family laws and regulations. An attorney can understand the sensitive nature of these cases and the importance of keeping children connected with their families whenever possible. If you would like more information on how a child custody lawyer in Bloomington, IL from Pioletti & Pioletti can help you, please do not hesitate to call a law office and set up a free and confidential consultation.