In Louisiana, when a couple ends a marriage and there are children involved, it is important for parents to put their personal differences aside and adhere to their child’s best interests. In some relationships, that can be difficult. Lingering issues are hard to forget about. Still, when the process of determining child custody is underway, it is wise for the parents to know what the law says about a child’s best interests and how that is used to make the determinations as to who will have custody of the child.
The court will take numerous factors into consideration. First and foremost is the safety of the child. If there is a chance that the child will be abused, this will be a primary concern. The parents and others involved in the child’s life are expected to provide love, affection and create emotional links between the child and the relevant parties. In that vein, the ability and parental willingness to provide the child with that love, care, affection, spiritual guidance, education and rearing will be considered. The child will need to have proper nutrition, clothing, medical care and other basics. The amount of time the child has resided in a stable environment and attempts made to maintain that environment are key.
The parents must be deemed to have acceptable moral fitness and it will be gauged how the parents’ behavior will impact the child. If there is substance abuse or a history of criminal activity, that will be part of the determination of how the child’s best interests are served. The parties are expected to be of sound mental and physical health. The child’s history in the context of home, school and with other community-based issues are important. The parties must express a willingness to allow the other party to have a relationship with the child if it is safe and there are no abuse issues. The child can have a say if he or she is determined to be of sufficient age and maturity. Finally, the distance between the residences of the parties will be factored in.
The well-being of the child is paramount when there is a child custody case, and the above-listed best interest factors must be remembered. For all parties, it is imperative to have legal protection to ensure the child custody case is conducted fairly and within the boundaries of the law.