Family courts in Louisiana are often required to make child custody determinations based on the best interests of the child. To determine which arrangement best serves the child’s best interests, courts will consider several factors to determine the child’s best interest under Louisiana law. Some of these factors include:
- Abuse and/or neglect of child: Potential/current abuse of child (primary consideration).
- Drug/alcohol abuse or violence: History of domestic violence, and/or drug/alcohol abuse, or criminal history of parents or other family members.
- Relationship with parents: Love, affection, and emotional ties between the child and each parent and capacity of each parent to provide the child with this emotional support.
- Living environment: Stability and adequacy of child’s current living environment and whether child should continue living in that environment.
- Distance: Distance between parents’ residences.
- Capacity to parent: Each parent’s ability (and willingness) to provide child with basic needs (e.g., food and clothing).
- Schooling and other activities: Child’s school, involvement in community and home life.
- Child’s preference: If child is of sufficient age, child’s reasonable preference regarding living arrangements.
- Willingness to co-parent: Each parent’s ability and willingness to encourage relationship with child’s other parent.
The court reviewing your case will likely consider the factors above, as well as many others, to ensure that your child is well cared for after your separation. The child’s well-being will always be the court’s primary focus when making child custody and visitation decisions. If you are filing for divorce, a family law attorney in your area can guide you through the process and make sure your child always remains the main priority.