In the state of Louisiana, the court determines custody of minor children in the event of a divorce. Joint custody laws are designed to help the court decide if custody of the children should go to one or both parents. Joint custody means both parents share custody of the children with no preference given to either parent. Louisiana family court will rule in favor of joint custody unless there is good cause shown that one parent is unable to care for the children.
The Louisiana court will often decide in favor of joint custody of the children after a divorce. Before deciding in favor of joint custody parents must submit a plan for implementation of the custody order. This plan should outline in detail the time frame each parent will have custody of the children.
According to Louisiana law, joint custody should ensure that children have continuous and frequent contact with both parents and the parents should work together in making decisions about the health, education, and welfare of the children. Joint custody orders stay in effect until the order is modified by the Louisiana family court or children reach the age of majority (typically 18 years of age).
When deciding custody of children after a divorce, the court must consider the best interest of the children. If the court has been shown good cause that one parent is not a good candidate for joint custody, the court must then decide which parent is more likely to care for the children and will allow visits with the non-custodial parent.
Parents seeking sole custody of minor children must show proof that joint custody is not in their child's best interest. Louisiana courts will then decide if the parent is awarded sole custody of the children or if joint custody is in the best solution.
In cases where joint custody of the children is awarded, the court may designate a domiciliary parent. The domiciliary parent is the parent with whom the children will primarily reside. The domiciliary parent is given the authority to make decisions on behalf of the children in regard to education, health, and overall welfare.
If the Louisiana court does not designate a domiciliary parent, then both parents share the responsibility of making decisions for the children equally.