When parents in Louisiana divorce or separate, they may face the difficult task of working out a child custody arrangement and having it approved by a family court. There are a number of systems that work for different families depending on each child's needs and the parents' circumstances. Joint and shared custody are becoming much more popular options than they were in the past. However, in many families, one parent may be granted primary physical custody of the children. This does not mean that the non-custodial parent will be excluded from the child's life.
Many non-custodial parents enjoy active, involved relationships with their children. They have an extensive visitation schedule, which can frequently include overnight stays or holiday time, and they regularly pay child support, a major factor in contributing to the child's health and well-being. In addition, even parents who do not share physical custody may share legal custody, giving them an equal voice in making decisions about their children's education, health care and other major issues. Both parents and children benefit when non-custodial parents stay active and involved in each other's lives, absent a situation of neglect or abuse.
Some people think that non-custodial parents are always fathers. In fact, fathers who seek custody are highly likely to achieve joint or primary custody, and mothers can also be non-custodial parents. This type of custody choice does not mean that one parent is deficient. In many cases, employment concerns like long hours, deployments or frequent trips interfere with providing primary physical custody, but the parent is still actively involved.
Divorce and separation can be especially challenging when children are involved. A divorcing parent may turn to a family law attorney for representation throughout the process, working to achieve a fair agreement on child support and child custody.