Child Custody and Visitation
Understanding Louisiana’s Child Custody And Visitation Laws
In Louisiana, child custody and visitation is determined primarily based upon what type of arrangement is in a child’s best interest. Typically, parents going through a divorce are encouraged to create their own custody agreement, which a court will often approve so long as it is in the best interests of the child. In some cases, a court will even order parents to mediate issues of child custody.
However, if parents are unable to reach an understanding regarding custody and visitation, a court will have to step in and make the decision for them.
At Evans & Franklin in Bossier City, our attorneys can stand beside you through all aspects of this process to protect your relationship with your child. We represent parents throughout the greater Shreveport area.
Will A Court Even Award Joint Custody?
Over the last several years, joint custody arrangements have become quite common in Louisiana courts. It is important to keep in mind, however, that joint custody does not necessarily mean both parents will share equal time with the child.
In fact, when a court awards joint custody to parents, it will usually designate only one as the child’s primary custodian ― otherwise known as the domiciliary parent ― with the other parent being granted visitation rights. Even if the custody arrangement allows for equal, or nearly equal, parenting time for each parent, the court will still name a custodial or domiciliary parent.
Under Louisiana law, the domiciliary parent has the authority to make all decisions that may impact the child. More importantly, such decisions are presumed to be in the child’s best interests. However, the noncustodial parent can ask the court to overturn a decision if he or she can show it is not, in fact, in the best interests of the child.
In Louisiana, grandparents can seek visitation rights with a child so long as it is in the child’s best interests. Some instances in which grandparent visitation may be awarded include:
- When a married parent dies or is incarcerated, and it is in the child’s best interests to grant visitation rights to the parents of the deceased or incarcerated parent, i.e., the child’s grandparents
- When the parents of a child have lived apart for at least six months, extraordinary circumstances exist and it is in the child’s best interests to grant visitation rights to the child’s grandparents
As with most family-related legal issues, however, grandparent visitation requests can be complex, which is why it is best to seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer.
Child Relocation Is Often Complicated
Interstate child custody issues are often contentious, not to mention complicated. For instance, a parent cannot typically just pick up and move with a child outside of Louisiana ― or a significant distance ― without first seeking approval from the other parent or the court.
Regardless of whether you wish to relocate with your child or, conversely, stop your ex from moving with your child, Evans & Franklin can help.
Contact An Experienced Attorney Today
If you have questions about child visitation or custody rights in Louisiana, including matters related to paternity, child relocation or other interstate custody issues, contact the knowledgeable and skilled attorneys at Evans & Franklin. We will carefully explain your legal options and guide you through this often-complex process.