Notice When a Parent Is Deceased

When one of the parents of a child is deceased and there are (1) no court orders in place about the child AND (2) no pending court cases about custody or guardianship of the child, the law requires that the person filing the parentage case give notice of the case to certain people related to the child. The reason for this law is to make sure that anyone who may have an interest in the child or the case has an opportunity to have a say in the case.

When a parent is deceased, the Summons and the Petition MUST be served on the following people:

  • the person or persons who have physical custody of the child (the people the child lives with),
  • the child's siblings, half-siblings, and the child's grandparents (on both sides).

And if the person filing the parentage case is NOT the child's living parent, that parent must be served too, of course. 

You must follow these requirements carefully or your case may not move forward.

The papers can be served in person or by mail, or other way the court allows. If you cannot locate any of the people that must be served, let the court know your efforts to contact them and the court will either give you permission to serve them some other way, or will let you move forward without giving notice to the people that cannot be found.

IMPORTANT: If there is any type of court hearing coming up in the case and no orders have been made yet, you MUST serve all these people at least 15 days before the hearing.