When a couple with children makes the difficult choice to end their relationship it is often challenging to make decisions around custody. An experienced child custody lawyer can work with you to protect your interests, and the interests of your child, to help ensure a healthy custody agreement.
Determining Custody in Louisiana
As with most states, Louisiana courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. If a couple can mutually decide on a custody arrangement, the court will consider it and, if in the best interest of the child, likely approve the agreement.
If a custody agreement cannot be established by the parents, then the court will have to determine what is best for the child through child custody litigation. A decision will be made after taking into consideration some key points:
Child’s welfare. First and foremost, will the child be safe in the custody of each parent? Will the child be provided for, including basic necessities like food, clothing, hygiene needs, and healthcare? Are both parents mentally and physically fit to care for the child?
Stable environment. Will each parent provide a stable home and school environment? If the child needs to relocate, how will the child adjust to the new home and community? What is the distance between each parent’s residence?
Emotional support. Will the child’s emotional, social, and religious needs be met by both parents? What is the morality of each parent and how will that affect the child? Will both parents support the child’s relationship with the other parent?
Existing bond. Does the child have a deeper bond with one parent? Does the child have a preference to live with one parent over the other and if so, does the preference support the child’s best interests?
If you cannot come to an agreement on a custody arrangement and are headed into child custody litigation, be sure to contact a top child custody lawyer near you to assist in demonstrating to the court that you will meet the needs of your child.
Sole Custody in Louisiana
Louisiana law heads into custody evaluations with the assumption that joint custody will be in the best interest of the child. It is uncommon that the court will award sole custody to just one parent. There are instances however where sole custody is in the best interest of the child:
- When one parent has a history of violence.
- If one parent has an existing substance abuse or addiction problem.
- If there is a history of abuse or neglect from one parent, including physical, mental, or sexual abuse.
These instances are rare, but the court may find one parent to be unfit and award sole physical and legal custody to the other parent. In these instances, it is not assumed the unfit parent will have visitation rights to see the child unless the court creates a visitation schedule. The court may order supervised visits to ensure the safety of the child.
Lafayette, Louisiana Child Custody and Visitation Lawyer
Are you in need of an affordable child custody attorney in the Lafayette area? Contact The Law Office of Tony Morrow to schedule your personalized case evaluation with an experienced child custody lawyer you can trust. Don’t wait, contact them today.