Factors that impact child custody in Louisiana

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Child Custody |

Louisiana judges must make custody decisions based on the best interests of children. Louisiana statute outlines several factors that play a role in the judge’s decision.

Which factors do judges consider when determining custody?

Factors that determine a child’s best interest

Louisiana statute requires judges to consider all relevant factors when they determine what a child’s best interests are. The statute outlines 14 specific factors:

  1. Potential for abuse
  2. Emotional ties between the child and the parent or guardian
  3. Ability and desire of each party to provide the child with affection, love and spiritual guidance
  4. Ability and desire to provide the child with material needs such as clothing, food and medical care
  5. Stability of the living environment
  6. The permanence of the custodial home
  7. The moral fitness of each party
  8. History of substance abuse, criminal activity or violence
  9. Mental and physical health of each party
  10. History of the child
  11. Preference of the child, if the court deems the child old enough
  12. Ability and desire of each party to facilitate a continuing relationship between the child and the other party, unless evidence of reckless, abusive or illegal conduct exists
  13. How far apart the parties’ residences are
  14. How responsible each party has been in caring for the child in the past

Exceptions to these factors

This statute may not apply in cases where there is a history of family violence or domestic abuse. In these cases, judges must award custody or visitation according to R.S. 9:341 and 364.

In most cases, judges seek to implement some form of joint custody. However, judges may elect to award sole custody if a joint arrangement is not in the best interest of the child.