San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses the What Happens to the Children When a Parent Dies
With the death of Michael Jackson, and a potential custody battle arising between Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael and Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s second wife and the biological mother of Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11, much talk has arisen about what happens when a custodial parent dies.
Generally, if a custodial parent dies while the child is a minor, the surviving parent would be entitled to sole legal custody. Other third parties such as aunts, uncles or grandparents may try to obtain custody of the child by filing an independent proceeding such as a guardianship, dependency or in the case of grandparents, a Petition for Grandparent Visitation. The other family members may be awarded custody if they can show that it would not be in the child’s best interest to be in the custody of the surviving parent and to do so would be detrimental to the child.