Sharing custody of your children is never easy. Even if you enter the situation with the best of intentions, you may have a very hard time maintaining a healthy and positive co-parenting relationship with your ex.
Maybe someone at work told you that dads never get equal parenting time, or perhaps you’ve heard that issues like infidelity might affect your parenting rights. Those myths sometimes stop people from pursuing an appropriate custody arrangement. What do parents need to know about how Louisiana handles custody issues?
The children will always come first
Parents angry about canceled visitation sessions or the medical care their children receive often become angry about what they perceive as violations of their rights. However, when they try to go to court to demand more time with the children or a change to how the courts split the decision-making authority for the family, that approach could easily backfire. Judges who hear parents talking primarily about themselves and making demands based on their own desires may not get the outcome they expect.
Family law judges want to see parents putting the children first and making what the children need the central consideration in all custody matters. Not only will the judge making the choices in your case look at your pre-existing relationship with the kids, your personal stability and your work schedule, but they will also consider how you treat the other parent.
When you are openly hostile towards your ex and make it clear that you want to diminish or eliminate their time with the children, a judge may reach the conclusion that you will not act in the best interests of your kids and may actually reduce how much parenting time or decision-making power they grant to you in the custody order. When parents make their children the focal point in all of their decisions, they will have an easier time achieving success in court.
Your custody arrangements can always change
What is best for your children now might not be what is best for them in two years. Parents can ask the courts to revisit an existing custody order when there is a substantial change to family circumstances. New schedules, a child’s diagnosis with a serious medical condition and allegations of abuse are all among the changes that might justify requesting a custody modification hearing in the Louisiana family courts.
With rare exceptions, parents can typically expect some degree of shared parental rights when they break up with one another or divorce. Only when the courts agree that keeping a parent involved in a child’s life would put the child at risk for the courts typically agree to grant one parent sole custody and eliminate the access of the other.
Understanding how the family courts approach child custody and establishing realistic expectations will help parents facing the end of a relationship better preserve their presence in their children’s lives.