When a Divorced Parent Dies

Posted November 29th, 2013 by .

Categories: Family Law.

As agreed upon during your divorce, your ex has custody of your child. However, she suddenly becomes ill and dies. Although you were expecting to take over the responsibility of raising your child, you find out her mother is claiming your ex gave custody of your child to her instead of you. What can you do?

This can be a tricky situation. According to New Jersey law, if  the custodial parent dies, there is the belief that the surviving parent should receive custody of the children. But there certain times when the grandparent can seek custody of the children by showing that it is not in the best interest of the child to live with the parent. Here are some of the reasons:

  • The child has been abandoned by the parent
  • The child was neglected by the parent
  • There has been incidents of emotional or physical abuse
  • The parent has committed a criminal act

These situations are rare, however, and nine times out of ten, the children will be given to the surviving parent once the custodial parent dies. When the custodial parent dies, the surviving parent can seek a child support from the custodial parent’s estate to help with the raising of the children. If your child does goes into the care of someone other than yourself, that that caregiver can collect child support from both yourself and the estate of the custodial parent.

Do you have a question on child support and custody? Contact us today for a free consultation.

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