If your grandchild’s parents cannot care for him or her, you may want to request visitation or even legal custody. Louisiana courts preserve the rights of grandparents to seek custody in certain cases.
Before filing for visitation with your grandchild, review the relevant state laws that apply to your circumstances.
You can ask the court for custody of or reasonable visitation with your grandchild if:
- The child’s parents have not lived together for at least six months.
- The child’s parents have divorced.
- One or both of the child’s parents have died.
- The child is in foster care.
- A parent is serving a prison sentence.
- The court has declared a parent legally incompetent.
- A parent struggles with substance use disorder.
The legal process
Create a petition that details your desired custody or visitation arrangement. Submit it to the state Department of Children and Family Services in the Louisiana county where your grandchild lives. Both parents will receive legal notice and must appear at a hearing.
During this process, you must show that court that your proposed schedule serves your grandchild’s best interests. Evidence should indicate:
- The reason you are requesting grandparent custody or visitation
- Your existing relationship with your grandchild
- Your ability to care for the child
- Your ability to support a relationship between the child and his or her parents
- Your mental and physical health
- Your grandchild’s wishes depending on age
In addition, you must provide a blood test to prove your biological relationship to your grandchild. The court will make a determination based on the testimony of both sides.