There might be a perception that most Louisiana child custody cases will result in one parent being granted custody and the other getting visitation rights as a noncustodial parent. While this does happen, there are many other ways in which the case can be decided. The circumstances of every case will largely dictate how the child custody allocation is handled. For some, the preferable option for the parents and to serve the child’s needs is to have a joint custody agreement. Understanding what state law says about joint custody and having legal advice is critical for everyone involved.
When the court orders joint custody, the parents will share the child equally unless good cause indicates that it is not in the child’s best interests. With joint custody, there will be time periods for which the parents will each have custody of the child and there will be consistent and continuing contact between the child and both parents. As per the child’s best interests and when it is feasible, the custody will be shared equally. If there is an emergency making it necessary for the parent to evacuate, there will still be continued contact with the other parent while the evacuation is in progress. There will be an interim child custody agreement until normalcy is resumed.
Joint custody means that the legal authority will be equally accorded to both parents. There will generally be a domiciliary parent with whom the child will be listed as residing with unless good cause is shown that this should not be done. That parent has the authority to make the decisions regarding the child except in cases where there is an implemented order saying otherwise. The other parent can make motions regarding the domiciliary parent’s decisions and the court will decide on them. The best interests of the child are key.
Although divorce is viewed as an adversarial situation, that does not always need to be the case. In some instances, the parents can put their differences aside and share custody of the child. The parents might be amicable, have lingering tensions between them or fall anywhere in between. Still, there can be a reasonable joint custody agreement if the parties can be cordial and consider the child first and foremost. For those who are interested in a joint custody agreement or who have any other child custody concern, a law firm experienced in family law can help.