Seattle, WA asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Washington

Q: Can my son's ex-wife get custody of his daughter, even thought she is not her mother,if something happens to him?

If so, how can he guaranty that his mother gets her and not the ex-step mother? They have been divorced for over three years and the step mother has no rights to her for visits or anything else.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Vincent J. Bernabei
Vincent J. Bernabei
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Licensed in Washington

A: If your son's ex-wife has had no contact with the child for more than three years, it is highly unlikely that the court would award her custody of the child. If your son dies, the child's mother, as the surviving biological parent, would have a preference in obtaining legal custody. If the bio mother is unfit or other circumstances exist that are highly detrimental to the welfare of the child, then the court would consider awarding custody to a third person. Your son should prepare an estate plan that includes his preference for guardian of his child in the event of his death.

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