For St. Tammany Parish parents who have parted ways and are concerned about child custody, there are many factors to consider. In some cases, there is a joint custody order. With joint custody, the parents share the child. However, a frequently misunderstood aspect of joint custody that should be considered is domiciliary status.
The law can be complicated with joint custody when the decree is made and it is implemented. After a decree for joint custody, it will be implemented unless there is good cause not to. There will be certain times at which the parents will have physical custody. This is to ensure there is consistent contact between the child and both parents regardless of domiciliary status. The goal is for the parents to have the child an equal amount of the time. In circumstances where evacuation from the state is necessary, the parent with the child should make sure there is continuing contact between the child and the other parent.
The child will need to live with one of the parents. That will be the domiciliary parent. The child will reside with the domiciliary parent, but the other parent will continue to have periods of time with the child as part of the shared custody arrangement. There will also be frequent contact. Decision-making authority will be granted to the domiciliary parent. For major decisions, the court can conduct a review at the request of the other parent. The child’s best interests are paramount with any decision made by the domiciliary parent.
If parents have a reasonably amicable relationship, a joint custody plan can be effective. Even if they are on somewhat contentious terms and the court orders joint custody, it can be worked out to serve the child’s best interests. With any child custody-related issue, it is still important to have legal advice. A firm that handles family law will understand the unique challenges parents face as they address joint custody issues, communication and domiciliary status. Consulting with a qualified legal professional can be helpful to handle challenges inherent with child custody.