When a custodial parent dies in Wyoming, there is an immediate concern about the children that parent had custody of. Hopefully, there will be at least one family member or family friend who would be a viable candidate as a guardian. Time is of the essence as a delay in determining child custody can cause the children unnecessary additional stress.

There are several groups of people who can be good candidates to take over as the guardian of a deceased parent’s children. If the second biological parent is still living, he or she may be the best option to assume guardianship. If that parent didn’t have custody due to a history of violence, drug use or simply lack of interest, he or she may not be a viable option. Other family members, including grandparents, aunts or uncles, may be interested in obtaining child custody. If there are no family members who want to raise the children, a family friend may be a good option.

If no family members or family friends are interested in obtaining child custody, the children may become wards of the state. This means they will enter the foster care system. This is the last resort as it is often the least beneficial option for the children. If there are multiple siblings, they may be separated from each other, or the children may be moved to a different town than the one they are familiar with. While some foster children are adopted by their foster parents, many are not and remain in the foster care system until they become adults.

Losing a parent is one of the most difficult trials anyone must face under any circumstances, and it is especially difficult for children who have to endure the loss. Often the best outcome is for a loving family member or a close family friend to seek child custody. Having a familiar face to turn to can be a great comfort during such a difficult time. Someone wishing to seek child custody should contact a family law attorney for help. An experienced attorney can assist the potential guardian in working with Wyoming laws and the steps to take to make the process as quick and easy for the children as possible.