Divorce is never easy on the family, especially when there are minor children involved. If the parents agree on a custody arrangement, the courts must award custody in accordance with the agreement unless the court finds the agreement to not be in the best interest of the child.
If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, joint custody is typically awarded to the parents. Louisiana law strongly prefers joint custody; however, joint custody may not be appropriate when the parents frequently engage in acrimony and conflict, there is a history of abuse or violence in the home, one of the parents has a substance abuse problem, etc.
If the court determines that joint custody is not in the child's best interest, and one parent shows by clear and convincing evidence to serve the best interest of the child, the court should award sole custody to that parent.
If an award of joint or sole custody to either parent would result in substantial harm to the child, custody should be awarded to a non-parent custodian. A non-parent custodian with whom the child has been living in a wholesome and stable environment prior to the proceeding will be given preference. In the absence of such a person, custody may be awarded to any person who is able to provide an adequate and stable environment for the child.
Custody disputes can be highly stressful and contentious. At Lawrence Law Firm, our family law attorneys strive to make the process less stressful by helping our clients generally understand the laws and legal standards in Louisiana. Specifically, how those laws and standards affect their individual cases. To discuss how Lawrence Law Firm may be able to help your family contact us online or at (318) 232-4000 to schedule a consultation.