Determining child custody is often one of the most contentious steps in the divorce process. Child custody orders can have life-changing consequences for your future parent-child relationship. Below is a general overview of child custody in Metairie, Louisiana.

child custody in metairie

What are the Types of Custody in Metairie?

There are four primary types of custody in Metairie, Louisiana.

  • Joint Custody

Joint custody is when both parents share physical custody and decision-making for major issues, such as education, medical, and religious decisions. Joint custody does not mean custody is split exactly 50/50. Typically, one parent is named the domiciliary parent. The domiciliary parent will have physical custody the majority of the time. They must discuss significant decisions with the other parent. If the other parent disagrees with a decision, they can ask the court to review the dispute.

Joint custody is the court’s preferred outcome. Louisiana family law believes that it is usually in the child’s best interest to have frequent and meaningful relationships with both parents.

  • Sole Custody

Sole custody is when one parent has full custody over the child. They have the right to make all parenting decisions and do not need to seek the other parent’s agreement. The only decision where consultation is sometimes required is relocation.

The court may grant the other parent visitation rights. Visitation is when the non-custodial parent takes the child for regularly scheduled periods. The visitation may be supervised or unsupervised.

  • Shared Custody

Shared custody is when physical custody is divided equally, and decision-making is done together. There is no domiciliary parent in shared custody arrangements.

  • Split Custody

Split custody is when the court places some of the children with one parent and the remaining children with the other parent. Louisiana does not like to split up siblings, so this outcome is rare. The court may award split custody if one of the children is disabled and one parent has better skills and resources to manage care.

How will a Judge Decide Child Custody in Metairie?

Parents should first try to negotiate custody agreements among themselves with the help of an attorney. The judge will typically honor an agreement unless it is not in the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot work together to create a custody plan, the court will decide.

In Louisiana, the court makes its decision based on what it believes in the child’s best interest. There is no preference for the mother or the father. Metairie courts favor joint custody. Parents need to present clear and convincing evidence that joint custody is not in the child’s best interest.

Louisiana state law lists several factors that the judge should consider when determining what is in the child’s best interest. The judge should consider all relevant factors. There are 14 factors in the statute, including:

  1. The potential each child will be abused;
  2. The relationship between the child and each parent;
  3. Each parent’s capacity and willingness to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs;
  4. The ability of each parent to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance;
  5. The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment;
  6. The permanence of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes;
  7. The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child;
  8. The history of substance abuse, violence, or criminal activity of any party;
  9. Each parent’s willingness and ability to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent;
  10. Each parent’s mental and physical health. Evidence that an abused parent suffers from the effects of past abuse by the other parent shall not be grounds for denying that parent custody;
  11. The home, school, and community history of the child;
  12. The child’s wishes if they are of sufficient age;
  13. The distance between the parent’s residences; and
  14. The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.

Your Metairie Child Custody Attorney

If you have questions about child custody, reach out to The Fisher Law Firm. The attorneys at Fisher Law Firm firmly believe that you deserve compassion and reliable representation when dealing with child custody disputes.

The Fisher Law Firm is a full-service law firm dedicated to providing the best legal services to Louisiana residents. Call us today at 504-304-4944 to schedule an appointment at our Metairie, Louisiana office.

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