When a relationship between parents ends and there are children involved, the children are the utmost importance. If communications has broken down to the point parents cannot agree you need an attorney who can help establish custody and visitation. Child custody disputes always the best interest of the child. Louisiana law provides that, where the parents have agreed on a child custody arrangement, the court is to honor that arrangement unless it ﬁnds that enforcing the child custody agreement of the parents would not serve the best interest of the child involved.
Decisions about the best interest of the child are always made by a judge, not a jury, after hearing all of the evidence. The factors the judge will look at to evaluate what is in the best interest of the child include:
• the relationship between the child and each party, including love, affection, and emotional ties
• each party’s ability to raise the child and provide love, affection, and spiritual guidance
• each party’s ability to feed and clothe the child and provide medical care and any other material needs
• the stability of the child’s environment and each party’s desire to maintain the child in the environment
• the stability and permanence of each proposed custodial home
• each party’s character, as long as the character traits affect the welfare of the child involved in the dispute
• each party’s physical and mental health
• the child’s history at home, at school, and in the community
• each party’s ability and desire to facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other party
If the parents have not reached an agreement about child custody, Louisiana, generally directs courts to award joint custody of the child to both parents unless the court ﬁnds by clear and convincing evidence that awarding sole custody of the child to one parent would serve the child’s best interest. A parent who doesn’t get either joint or sole custody will be awarded reasonable visitation rights as the non-custodial parent, unless visitation would not be in the child’s best interests. In extraordinary circumstances, Louisiana courts will grant visitation to relatives who are not granted custody if the court ﬁnds that visitation with the relative would be in the best interest of the child.
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If you or someone you love need a lawyer experienced in handling custody cases, please contact my firm as soon as you can. I will give you knowledgeable legal advice that you can depend on, and if I take your case, you can rest assured I will do all that I can to enforce the rights you deserve.