Fla. Court Considers Awarding Parental Rights to Dead Dad

child-custodyHe was an unfit dad when he was alive, so why is a Florida court considering restoring parental rights to a dead man?

According to the Miami Herald, it all comes down to the moo-lah.

A man identified only as C.A. was in the process of appealling a judge’s decision to sever his parental rights to his tween daughter when he was killed in a hit-and-run. With no legal connection to her father at the moment, the girl has no rights in a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the car.

She’s legally a ward of the state at the moment – C.A.’s wife lost not only custody but her appeal to get her kids back (the girl has an older brother). A crack addict, C.A. reportedly lost his rights because a foster family was looking to adopt the girl. The brother was still legally connected to his dad and still under age twenty-five, giving him the right under Florida law to sue for the money at the moment – without his sister.

What makes this case so bizarre? It’s the Department of Children and Families, who yanked the kids AND recommended severing the ties between parents and daughter that prompted this case be re-examined by the courts. They’re pointing out that what precipitates a legal severing of relationships is always supposed to be in the best interest of the child – and by reuniting the child and dead dad, in this case, they think they’d be better serving the child.

It’s an ingenius way of looking at the law if nothing else. If the lawsuit were successful, Florida law provides not only for lost financial support, medical and funeral expenses and pain and suffering but minor dependents “may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury.”

The latter may be hard to prove, however, consider this kid had none of the above at the time of her father’s death.

Considering her dad sounds like a no-good crack addict, maybe it’s high time this kid finally got something good out of him. Then again, with no guarantee a lawsuit would be successful, I wonder what it would do to this girl’s chances of actually being adopted.

Do you think the court should give dad back his rights?


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