During a divorce, parents should strive to create a custody plan that fits the family’s needs and supports the child’s optimal well-being. State laws also guide decisions about child custody, including cases involving same-sex couples who have children together.
Review the factors that influence custody of minor children in a Louisiana divorce.
Types of custody
Louisiana gives all parents the right to “access and visitation” with children unless they have a history of physical or sexual abuse. When a parent cannot safely care for the child independently, the court may order supervised visitation.
The state recognizes both physical and legal custody. Legal custody describes decision-making responsibilities for the child for important issues such as education, religion and health care. Physical custody refers to where the child lives.
Best interest factors
When parents cannot reach a custody agreement outside of court, they can ask the state to decide. Louisiana judges strive to make an arrangement that serves the child’s best interest based on factors such as:
- Each parent’s willingness to support the other parent’s healthy relationship with the child
- The physical and mental health of the child and both parents
- Each parent’s existing relationship with the child, including their history of providing care
- The ability of each parent to serve the child’s emotional and financial needs
- The child’s preference depending on age and maturity level
- The child’s current adjustment to home, school and community
Once the court approves a custody agreement, same-sex parents must legally abide by its provisions. To modify the terms of custody, a parent must return to court and request a modification because of significantly changed circumstances.