What Happens When a Parent with Joint Custody Passes Away?

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

A recent tragic case of a mother killed in an automobile accident serves as a perfect example for this question:
“What happens when a divorced parent with joint custody passes away?”
The short answer is sole custody is conferred upon the surviving natural parent in most cases. The best interests of the child(ren) will always be the principle factor considered by the Court. In cases of alcohol or drug addiction, criminal activity or physical violence the Court will order an independent assessment and recommendation prior to issuing permanent custody and parenting time orders.
There is another legal challenge in these cases: the orders may be unable to be modified upon the passing of one of the parents. This means that an outside party wishing to challenge the custody or visitation regarding the child through a “Grandparent’s Rights,” “guardianship” or other dependency basis.
These cases can be quite complex, and it is important to consult with experienced and proven North County divorce, child custody & visitation attorneys. Burke & Domercq have been serving Carlsbad and North County San Diego for decades. We handle many complex child custody cases including move away / relocation cases and can advise on international or “Hague Convention” situations.
We invite you to contact us or call 760-712-3471 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.