In a proceeding for divorce or thereafter, the court shall award custody of a child in accordance with the best interest of the child.
If the parents agree who is to have custody, the court shall award custody in accordance with their agreement unless the provisions of R.S. 9:364 apply or the best interest of the child requires a different award. Subject to the provisions of R.S. 9:364, in the absence of agreement, or if the agreement is not in the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to the parents jointly; however, if custody in one parent is shown by clear and convincing evidence to serve the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to that parent.
A. 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.
B. 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.
Call Big River Trial Attorneys at (225) 963-9638 if you have questions about a family law case. One of our attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss the details of your case and explain what options you might have.
We regularly handle divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law cases in the following parishes: Ascension Parish, Assumption Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville Parish, Livingston Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, St. James Parish, St. Helena Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, West Feliciana Parish.
We regularly handle divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law cases in the following cities: Baton Rouge, Clinton, Convent, Denham Springs, Donaldsonville, Gonzales, Greensburg, Livingston, Napoleonville, New Roads, Plaquemine, Port Allen, St. Francisville.