A parent cannot have custody or any custody rights over their minor child, but only a court order can end the parental authority of one of the parents of a minor child. California law recognizes the rights of parents and favors the rights of guardianship or custody of the child's natural parent. The best way to care for your child in the event of such a tragedy is to create a valid will and will. Each parent must have their own will.
If you are married or share custody of the children while they live, then the surviving parent will normally have custody of the children if one of the parents dies, regardless of the provisions of the will. The law gives parents priority when it comes to the custody of their children. However, another person can go to court and ask for custody. This type of custody request is not always related to parental misbehavior.
Sometimes, a child's welfare requires a third person to have custody. Legal guardianship is what a court can grant to someone other than a biological parent. It would give an adult the right to care for a minor. Parents assume guardianship by default, but in cases where one parent is absent or unfit, the court may step in and appoint another person to the role.
Depending on the circumstances, biological parents can retain their parental rights even if another person is appointed as a guardian. However, a judge can revoke or suspend these rights in extreme cases. In the event that the biological parents have died, custody can also be granted to a guardian. Read our full guardianship guide here.