Non-custodial parents in Texas may have concerns about what will happen to their child when the custodial parent dies. It is necessary that the parents are aware of what should be done to gain custody of the child
There are many candidates who may qualify for and be willing to be a guardian to the child. This can include the non-custodial parent, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, family friends or the state.
The state is usually the least favored option, but may be necessary if there are no other willing candidates. When a child becomes a ward of the state, he or she will enter the foster care system. Concerned family members will be unable to choose to which foster home the child will be assigned. While the family members may pursue visitation in most circumstances, they may want to consider become the child's guardian instead. This would eliminate the need of having to place the child in the foster system. Family members who are concerned about the welfare of the child may also want to know if the child is eligible to be adopted through the foster system. While the answer is generally yes, the reality is that many foster children are never adopted.
In some cases, paternity may be an issue if a custodial parent dies. The non-custodial parent may be able to obtain custody of the child, but only if paternity was established. This would have been accomplished if the biological father had his name on the child's birth certificate or has signed an acknowledgment of paternity form.
A family law attorney may advise a client of his or her legal options regarding physical custody if the other parent has died. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney may advise of what is necessary to establish paternity after a custodial parent's death.