What Factors Are Used To Determine Child Custody?

by: Sonja Bradley
A look at Louisiana law in relation to the determination of Child Custody.

Factors Used by the Court to Determine Child Custody.

In all child custody discussions, the “best interest” of the child is paramount. In Louisiana law, “best interest” is a term with a specific meaning. It is so critical to the determination of custody that guidelines have been enacted.

The “best interest” of the child takes into consideration his or her safety and security, mental health, emotional development, and happiness. Commonly it is in the child’s best interest to stay foster a close relationship with both parents.

However, oftentimes situations dictate that either the mother or father have sole custody. It is important to remember that decisions made now will have a lasting effect on the future relationship between you and your child.

The legislature established guidelines for the courts to follow in determining child custody in Louisiana. The following are the factors used by the courts:

La. C.C. Art. 134. Factors in determining a child’s best interest

Art. 134. Factors in determining a child’s best interest

  1. Except as provided in Paragraph B of this Article, the court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the best interest of the child, including:

(1) The potential for the child to be abused, as defined by Children’s Code Article 603, which shall be the primary consideration.

(2) The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child.

(3) The capacity and disposition of each party to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child.

(4) The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.

(5) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment.

(6) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

(7) The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.

(8) The history of substance abuse, violence, or criminal activity of any party.

(9) The mental and physical health of each party. Evidence that an abused parent suffers from the effects of past abuse by the other parent shall not be grounds for denying that parent custody.

(10) The home, school, and community history of the child.

(11) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.

(12) The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party, except when objectively substantial evidence of specific abusive, reckless, or illegal conduct has caused one party to have reasonable concerns for the child’s safety or well-being while in the care of the other party.

(13) The distance between the respective residences of the parties.

(14) The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.

  1. In cases involving a history of committing family violence, as defined in R.S. 9:362, or domestic abuse, as defined in R.S. 46:2132, including sexual abuse, as defined in R.S. 14:403(A)(4)(b), whether or not a party has sought relief under any applicable law, the court shall determine an award of custody or visitation in accordance with R.S. 9:341 and 364. The court may only find a history of committing family violence if the court finds that one incident of family violence has resulted in serious bodily injury or the court finds more than one incident of family violence.

Acts 1988, No. 817, §2, eff. July 18, 1988; Acts 1990, No. 361, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1991; Acts 1993, No. 261, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1994; Acts 2018, No. 412, §1, eff. May 23, 2018.

To read the text of the legislation click this link https://legiscan.com/LA/text/SB291/id/1800646

As you can tell there is a lot that goes into determining custody. If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you in your custody battle hire Sonja Bradley she has over 18 years experience fighting for her clients’ rights.

Contact Sonja Bradley your attorney in Hammond Louisiana, Denham Springs, Louisiana, Ponchatoula Louisiana, Livingston Louisiana, Albany Louisiana, Amite Louisiana, Walker Louisiana and surrounding areas.

Sonja Bradley J.D., Sonja received her undergraduate degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law. Sonja is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the 21st JDC Bar Association. She has 21 years of legal experience.