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Understanding child custody laws in Louisiana

While most states are ideal for couples to marry and raise a family, in cases in which a marriage ends in divorce, it's important to know how child custody works. Louisiana prescribes to the 1978 Uniform Child Custody Act, which on the lawbooks is covered under Civ. Art. 131; Rev. Stat. §9:331, et seq., §9:355.12.

Louisiana supports options such as joint custody among separated parents, protected under Civ. Art. 131. 9:335, and more nuanced concepts like limited visitation rights for grandparents, Rev. Stat. 9:344. Consideration of the individual child's own desires may also be sought out before orders involving child custody are finalized.

Although judges prefer for parents to collaborate in working out a custody arrangement for their child, judge's forced to do so themselves will rule on the side of what is in the best interest of the child. This more abstract concept refers to who is best going to protect the child's overall safety and wellbeing.

In making that decision, the judge will look at the relationship the child might have with any siblings as well as which option provides the most consistency or continuity of their educational pursuits, community engagement and family life. Children age 11 or over are generally asked their preferences in custody matters.

Judges will also consider which parent is more likely to nourish their child's physical and emotional wellbeing and provide for their developmental, educational and special needs as well. In doing so, he will look at which parent is most apt to provide a loving and stable environment in which the child can flourish.

Making such an evaluation is not easy. However, concerns about a parent's history of using drug or alcohol, being physically abusive or having a criminal history involving certain crimes can make the decision a lot easier.

If you in the process of devising a custody agreement with your soon-to-be former spouse and are seeking to gain custody of your child; then a Louisiana family law attorney might help. He or she will advise you of potential concerns that might affect your ability to gain custody as well as ways in which you can strengthen your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Louisiana Child Custody Laws," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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