Q: If I die does my son’s father automatically get custody?
My son and I left Alaska when he was less than a year old, and his father hasn’t seen him since. They Skype, and he follows his child support order. We have joint legal custody and I have primary physical custody. My son is now 7, and I want to know if his grandmother has any rights to him, or if the courts will automatically award custody to his father.
It's not even clear that any action by the court would be needed. He was already able to exercise legal custody, and after your death, he would have the clear right to physical custody.
Grandparents would have no right to custody, though they could ask for visitation if the father unreasonably denied it, to the detriment of the child. Grandparents could also ask for custody, but they would not succeed unless they could prove the father represents a clear danger to the child due to a history of child abuse or neglect, severe substance abuse, or something like that. It's very very difficult for a third party to remove custody from a parent.
The only way to prevent the above from happening would be for a step-parent to adopt the child (while you are still living). That would require proper notice to the father.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.