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Child Custody / Visitation / Contact

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact

Parental Death

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Our son passed away. When he was alive we were never very close to our daughter-in-law, though we were to our grandchildren. Although she kept up contact during the first year after our son’s death, she seems to have gradually drifted away. She and the children celebrate all the festivals with her parents, and we just don’t get to see the grandchildren. Is it acceptable for visitation rights to be formally set in such circumstances, and if, so, how often can we expect to see our grandchildren ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Uncooperative Parent

Yes, it would be quite acceptable for a court to set visitation rights between grandparents and grandchildren following submission of a plea to this effect, regardless of whether the father is alive or not, whenever contact is denied, provided this is in line with the recommendations of a court-appointed social worker and/or agreement between the parties.

As a guideline , the frequency of visitation rights between minors and grandparents set is usually less than that set between minors and a non-custodial parent, though each case would be decided on its merits .

I am divorced and have custody of our two children. I have recently been diagnosed as having cancer and am currently undergoing treatment.I am worried about what would happen to the children should I die.Their father lives abroad and has not contacted them for several years. He is an abusive person. My brother lives nearby and the children have a close relationship with him. He said that he would be willing to bring them up for me if the need arises. Can I do anything like making a will to ensure my brother and not my “ex” would get custody if I die ?

Child Custody / Visitation / Contact Parental Death

Both parents are the natural guardians of their children and this normally applies even when they are divorced. If the custodial parent dies the non-custodial parent is usually granted custody as he/she is the remaining natural guardian. Thus, for example, if the mother has custody and the father has visitation rights and a reasonable relationship with the children, then he will get custody. However, in an exceptional situation like yours, where the father exists and is technically the children’s natural guardian but has severed all connection with his offspring and fulfills no parenting role at all, it could be possible for your brother to apply for and be awarded custody of the children at the family court. Though an instruction in your will about  who should bring them up should you die would not be legally binding, your wishes would be taken into account by the judge. Another option would be to make an affidavit stating your preferences. If a legal battle were, however , to ensure between your brother and your “ex” the court would decide, putting the children’s welfare first.

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