If a custodial parent dies, has a non-court document for guardianship to a grandparent, do non-custodial take custody? 10 Answers as of April 24, 2013

I currently have custody of my eight-year old child. The custodial parent passed away in September of this year. I was the non-custodial parent until then. The father of the custodial parent claims to have non-court documents signed by the custodial parent and stamped by a notary public, giving him guardianship and custody of my child. Is this legal or would I have had to sign over my parental rights for the documents to be valid? Was it illegal for me to go to another state with my court documents to pick up my child who was living with a friend of the custodial parent? Does it matter if I am not on my child's Birth Certificate but have a signed court order by the Texas Attorney General acknowledging that I am the biological father? He's threatening to file kidnapping charges against me. Is all of this legal? Am I not the custodial parent of my child? The custodial parent and I am appointed as joint managing conservators of my child. Thanks.

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Woods, May & Matlock, PC
Woods, May & Matlock, PC | Robert J. Matlock
There is a presumption that upon the death of a parent the other parent is entitled to custody of the child; however, the court has authority to make a decision based upon what is best for the child. I suggest you hire a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/10/2012
The Troyb Law Firm, LLC
The Troyb Law Firm, LLC | Aleksandr Y. Troyb
Unfortunately, there are so many issues involved in your post that most attorneys will be very hesitant to respond without first speaking with you and reviewing the documents you mentioned. Custody issues are very fact/jurisdiction specific so I would strongly advise you to contact a local family law attorney to discuss these issues.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 12/10/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
If you have documents that you are the biological father, then upon the passing of one parent you have superior rights to the child. Generally, to be appointed as a guardian the court must be involved. To take away your rights as the father, a court must do that, too. With the facts you presented, you have not kidnapped your child. I do not know what state you reside due to the joint conservators of the child. You did nothing illegal.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/9/2012
John Russo | John Russo
This is your child!!!!!! I am sorry, but what is wrong with you people, I am starting to really worry about this society, the lack of basic understanding of issues is appalling. You are this child's parent, you use terms that you obviously do not understand, since you for what ever reason in the 21st century do not bother to research, custodial and non-custodial, that simply means that one parent has placement, and the other has all reasonable rights to visitation and parental time, you make it sound like the child is a 57 chevy. I am sure you know who is on dancing with the stars or what ever its called next week, take one tenth of the same time to educate yourself on whats really important, and you will be amazed on what you will learn, this is scary.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 12/9/2012
File for a court hearing to get custody.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/7/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    If the other parent dies, you become the residential care parent and the grandparents might be committing a felony if they do not turn the child over to you. Seek the advice of a local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    You need to ask an attorney in your state, and/or the state where the child resides/where the custody order originated.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 4/24/2013
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Please go talk to a divorce attorney. This is important.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/24/2013
    Woolley Wilson, LLP
    Woolley Wilson, LLP | William R. Wilson
    The other person needs a court order to be the conservator. As a parent, you are presumed to be the next best option until determined otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/7/2012
    Only a court can take custody rights from a parent, not the other parent.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/7/2012
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