Child Custody in Louisiana
If you and your child's other parent are splitting up, you'll have to make certain key decisions regarding child custody, visitation, child support and how your child is raised. Louisiana law allows and encourages parents to make these decisions together and with the guidance of their Louisiana child custody attorneys. However, the district court or family court will have final approval on the child custody agreement (including visitation schedule) and child support agreement.
Louisiana Child Custody Basics
There are two types of child custody: Physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody refers to where the child spends the majority of his or her time. Parents may have joint physical custody, meaning the child lives with each parent part of the time, or one parent may have sole custody, meaning the child lives with one parent and has visitation with the other parent.
Legal custody refers to the major life decisions that affect a child. Where does the child attend school? What religion does the child practice? How is the child raised? Like physical custody, legal custody can be jointly shared by both parents or can be the sole responsibility of one parent.
If both parents, with the help of their Louisiana child custody lawyers, can come to a mutually agreeable child custody arrangement, it's a good sign. It indicates that the parents are more likely to be able to work through future parenting issues. But if you're unable to reach a child custody agreement, then a judge will make a custody ruling for you.
Even if you're able to reach a child custody arrangement, the arrangement still has to be approved by the judge responsible for your case. When reviewing or making a child custody agreement, the judge tries to decide what is in the best interests of the child. The Louisiana State Bar Association says when determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider all factors it deems relevant including, but not limited to:
relationship between the child and the parents; which parent has historically taken care of the child; parent’s ability to provide for and give guidance; parent’s ability to encourage a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent; parent’s moral, mental and physical health; or child’s wishes if they are of sufficient age."
Louisiana Child Support Basics
Parents will also have to reach a child support agreement, or a court will make a child support ruling on your behalf. Your Louisiana child custody lawyer can help you calculate an estimated child support award and negotiate an appropriate amount of child support with your child's other parent.
In determining child support, the courts expect both parents to contribute to the financial expenses related to raising a child. In making a Louisiana child support ruling, a judge is expected to consider:
- Each parent's monthly income
- How much time the child spends with each parent
- How many children are in the family
- Whether the non-custodial parent is paying alimony or child support for another child
- Child care costs
- The cost of health insurance for the child
- Whether the child has any extraordinary expenses (such as medical costs or school tuition)
If a parent fails to pay child support, your Louisiana child support attorney and Louisiana Child Support Enforcement can help you collect the money you're owed.
Reasons to Hire a Louisiana Child Custody Lawyer
There are a few reasons to consider hiring a Louisiana child custody or family law attorney:
- Legal knowledge: Louisiana child custody attorneys will have represented countless clients just like you. When you hire an attorney, you're hiring someone who's spent years studying and practicing the law, and who will be familiar with the rules, the people and the process of making child custody and child support decisions and enforcing those orders.
- Treated fairly: If your child's other parent hires an attorney and you don't, know that you'll be at a legal disadvantage. You should hire a Louisiana family law attorney to ensure there's a level playing field and you receive a fair deal.
- Peace of mind: If you're going through a divorce or split, it can be traumatic on both you and your children. You have enough to worry about. By hiring an attorney to represent you, you can focus on your family while having the reassurance that an expert is handling the legal details.
Find & Hire Louisiana Child Custody Attorneys
If you need to hire a Louisiana child support attorney or child custody lawyer, you've come to the right website. Attorneys.com offers a free service that can connect you with a family lawyer in your area--whether you live in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport or anywhere in between.
To get started, fill out the form on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. After asking you a few simple questions, we'll put you in touch with a family law attorney in your area. Our service is fast and it's free, and will get you on the road toward resolving your child custody issues.