No child should ever have to lose their parent. If a custodial parent passes away, this will undoubtedly be a sad time for the whole family, and together, they will need time to heal. Modifications will need to take place so that the child gets the familial support that is in their best interests.
The court will need to decide whether the other parent will gain full custody of the child, or whether another party, e.g., a grandparent, will share custodial rights. The following are some factors that are considered by courts when making a custody modification after the death of a custodial parent.
The child’s wishes
Whether the child’s wishes will be taken into account by the courts will depend on the age of the child and their perceived maturity. Teenage children who express a desire to remain with a third-party permanently will likely be able to influence the courts.
The employment of the surviving parent
If the surviving parent has a demanding job that forces them to travel frequently or work long hours, the courts may decide that this makes them unsuitable to be a full-time custodian of their child.
Distance from the family home
If the other parent lives in another state or country, the courts may decide that moving location to be with their other parent could be too disruptive for the child. Instead, they may decide to grant custody to a grandparent that lives close by, for example.
Dealing with the death of a parent is tough on any child. It is important that they get the emotional support they need as well as a smooth transition into a new parenting plan.