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Custody options when one parent is in jail

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Child Custody

When making custody decisions, Louisiana, like most states, uses a “best interests of the child” standard. This means that there is a list of factors that a court considers to ultimately determine a custody schedule that is in a child’s best interest.

A custody analysis usually begins with the assumption that a shared custody schedule is in the best interest of a child. However, there are many situations where a shared custody schedule is simply not possible.

Incarcerated parents may still receive visitation

One of these situations is when one parent is in jail. Being incarcerated does not automatically cut off a parent’s custody or visitation rights.

If your child’s parent is in jail, you may have many reasons for not wanting them to have visitation time. You might think they are not a good influence on your child or may not want to expose your child to the inside of a jail or prison.

While your reasons may be valid, the reality is that unless there is evidence showing that the other parent will cause your child harm, your co-parent is likely to receive some visitation time.

What the law says on custody and incarceration

Louisiana law states that a court can order visitation time for an incarcerated parent, but may include conditions, restrictions or safeguards. The goal is to allow the parent and child to see each other, while still protecting the physical and mental health of the child and minimizing the risk of harm to the child.

A court can order that visitation with an incarcerated parent be supervised. There are several things a court examines when ordering supervised visitation with an incarcerated parent. These include:

  • The prior relationship between the child and parent
  • The supervisor’s willingness to encourage and facilitate a relationship between the child and parent
  • The child’s preference

The court also looks at various other factors, including practical considerations, such as any transportation costs to the facility and available visitation times.

Proper advice and guidance are necessary

Life is unpredictable. You may have never thought you’d be in a situation where your co-parent is in jail and finding a balance between protecting your child and helping them maintain a relationship with the other parent can be difficult. Trusted and experienced custody attorneys help people determine the best options in complicated situations.