Louisiana child custody laws determine which parent obtains legal custody over the children. The "custodial parent" is entitled to make decisions for the best welfare of the child. These decisions include, among other things, decisions about education, health care, religion and where to live.
If parents can agree between themselves who should obtain legal custody over the child, Louisiana courts will generally not intervene unless the court finds the agreement is not in the child's best interest.
If the parents cannot agree between themselves about custody, then Louisiana courts will award the parents joint custody.
If one parent demonstrates to the court, by "clear and convincing evidence," that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child, the court will award custody to a single parent. To determine what is in the best interest of the child, Louisiana courts look to several factors.
These factors include the emotional ties between each parent and the child, each parent's capacity to raise the child, the length and continuity of where the child has lived, each parent's capacity to provide for the child's material needs, each parent's moral fitness, each parent's mental and physical health, the parties' geographical distance and the child's preference.
This article is for educational purposes only, to give an overview of Louisiana child custody laws, which are subject to change. It is not intended to give legal advice. To determine how the facts of your situation apply to Louisiana law, consult a qualified attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana.