Understandably, one of a parent’s primary concerns when facing divorce is the present and future impact that the dissolution of their marriage will have on their child’s life. While your family may not look the same from here on out, it’s essential to maintain as much consistency as possible in family life. Negotiating a fair, safe and realistic parenting plan will be an important factor in creating a “new normal” for you, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse and your children.
Two types of custody in Louisiana
Co-parenting can be complicated to arrange but it’s relatively simple when you look at the actual components. Here are the two types of custody and what they mean:
- Physical custody. This means actual, physical time spent with the child under sole or joint custody arrangements.
- Legal custody. This means that one or both parents (in the case of joint custody) make major decisions in the lives of the children regarding their upbringing, health, education and future.
What if I want sole custody?
Unfortunately, unless there is strong evidence that your former spouse is a danger to the children, the court prefers joint custody to sole custody arrangements in the state of Louisiana. However, in certain circumstances, like if there is a history of domestic abuse or substance abuse, it is possible to have sole custody awarded. In this scenario, your lawyer would have to prove that your spouse is an unfit parent in court.
Joint custody, even if it involves extremely limited visitation or supervised visitation, will most likely be preferred by a Louisiana judge as it allows both parents to continue a relationship with the children in some capacity. Under a joint custody arrangement, parents must not only share the responsibility of caring for the children in question but also exchange relevant information regarding their health and welfare. The co-parents must discuss important decisions pertinent to legal custody before moving forward.
If you feel your reasons for seeking sole custody are valid, speak to your legal representation about the matter Every family has unique needs. Louisiana courts may have preferences, but ultimately the courts acknowledge that what matters most is the wellbeing of the child.