If you are a parent in Louisiana who is getting a divorce, child custody is likely a significant concern. If you cannot work out a custody agreement with your spouse, the family courts will decide the issue for you. A judge will consider what is in the child’s best interest when granting custody, but you may be unsure exactly what that means.
Generally, younger children require more hands-on care. Therefore, the judge will usually give custody to the parent who has already provided that care. Consequently, you will want to prove that you are involved in your child’s daily life. If the child is older, the judge may ask them if they have a preference and strongly consider that evidence.
Most family law judges hate to disrupt a child’s routine. Therefore, they often try their best to keep the child in the same house or, at least, the same neighborhood. Parents who want custody will want to show that they have their children enrolled in a neighborhood school and are involved with their extra-curricular activities.
Judges want to grant child custody to the better parent. Therefore, they often consider if one parent can provide a better lifestyle for the child than the other one. Parents seeking custody will want to show evidence that they already provide for the child’s food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education.
If one parent raises concerns in the judge’s mind that the child will be safe in that environment, the other one will usually get custody. Therefore, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse has had any criminal charges or child protective service investigations brought against them, you will want to inform the judge of those facts.
Except in extreme circumstances, family court judges seldom cut one parent off from seeing their child entirely. Therefore, you should expect the judge to give physical custody to one of you and implement a visitation schedule for the other parent.