When a Florida custodial parent dies, it can be difficult to determine what will happen to thei child. In many cases, another parent or a relative may take custody of the child. If these children do not have anyone who can take them in, they could potentially become a ward of the state.

If the noncustodial parents wish to take custody of their child, there are several steps that they must take. First, if they are male, they must establish paternity. In many cases, this is completed when the parent signs the child’s birth certificate. However, they can also sign and file an acknowledgement of paternity with the court. If they are not sure if the child is biologically theirs, they can potentially initiate a paternity test. Once paternity has been established, they must meet the child custody guidelines. A family law attorney may assist them with their custody endeavor especially if they do not have a strong relationship with the child.

While relatives can also potentially seek custody of the child, third parties may also offer to take the child in. In order to be considered, the third party must have an established relationship with the child and ensure that they are seeking custody to serve the best interests of the child. While the court will ultimately make the decision, a person who is interested should step forward as soon as possible.

If a noncustodial parent wishes to seek custody of their child following the death of the other parent, a child custody law firm may guide the parent through the process. For example, the firm may help initiate paternity testing and providing evidence that the parent is able to provide proper care for the child. An attorney may also assist with drafting a visitation schedule if other relatives are still in the child’s life.