Just as a parent’ work situation might change, so too may a child’s needs change over time. In both instances, all parties may benefit from child custody modification. This request can be requested from the court as a proposed order, or if contested, a single party may motion the court.
As in the original custody order, the court will apply the best interest of the child standard to a child custody modification request. In Louisiana, there are several factors that inform the best interest of the child standard. However, it is up to the court’s discretion to determine how much weight to afford each factor.
Best Interest of the Child Factors
These factors include the type of home environment each parent can offer to the child, the relationship each child had with the child, the distance between each parent’s home, and whether a requested arrangement would provide stability and continue any positive influences already present in the child’s environment. If a child is old enough, the court may also inquire into his or her feelings about possible custody preferences or arrangements.
Although a court may have a presumption in favor of joint custody, there are many other solutions possible. For example, if one parent’s location or work schedule makes travel prohibitive during the week, he or she may request to be the non-custodial parent and have visitation on the weekends. If a parent can’t provide primary physical custody but desires to be included in any material decisions involving the child’s medical, educational or other needs, the court may grant a special decision-making provision.
Source: Psychology Today, “What Exactly Is ‘The Best Interest of the Child?’, Part 2,” Edward Kruk, PhD, Feb. 22, 2015