If your grandchildren live with you already or you have concerns about their home life, you may want to seek legal custody. Louisiana allows grandparents to take this step in certain situations.
Review the factors that affect grandparent visitation and custody in the state before moving forward with this process.
Circumstances warranting grandparent visitation
You can petition the Louisiana county where your grandchild lives for legal visitation if:
- Your grandchild’s parents have divorced or lived apart for at least six months.
- One or both of your grandchild’s parents has died, gone to prison, or cannot care for the child because of substance use disorder.
- Your grandchild is in the foster care system.
- The court has declared one or both parents legally incompetent to care for your grandchild.
In addition to proving one of these factors, you must show the court that a relationship with you serves the child’s best interests.
Factors affecting grandparent custody
You can petition the court for custody of your grandchild during a divorce proceeding if you believe the child would come to harm in the custody of his or her parents. Typically, this occurs only in cases involving abuse or neglect.
If the state removes your grandchild from parental custody, you can ask the court for placement. Louisiana usually places children with relatives rather than in the foster care system if possible.
In other cases, your grandchild may already live with you. In this situation, asking the parents to sign a Voluntary Transfer of Custody will give you legal custody. They can also agree to sign the Provisional Custody by Mandate, which allows you to enroll the child in school and seek medical care for him or her.