California parents whose immigration status is not documented might have a child custody option if deportation occurs. Volunteer lawyers and law students in some parts of the country have started helping parents who are uncertain about deportation file the necessary paperwork that allows them to transfer custody of their children to a trusted person in their state.

When children have the status of being United States citizens, some undocumented parents choose to keep them in the country if they are deported. This could be because they may believe that the United States offers more options or opportunities for employment than their home countries. It could also be that they believe that their home countries are not always a safe place for their children. In any case, it is possible for parents with these concerns to make family preparedness plans, which allow them to prepare for the possibility of deportation.

A family preparedness plan is a set of signed legal documents that transfer child custody as well as control over assets, such as cars and homes, from parents who are subject to deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to designated legal guardians. A plan of this kind can give parents a sense of relief because they know who would care for their children if deportation happens.

Lawyers who focus on child custody might be able to help parents who want to prepare to transfer custody of their children to a relative or trusted friend. An attorney may help by determining which forms need to be signed and filed, providing instructions on how to fill out these forms and answering questions about child custody transfer.