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Protecting minor children when shared custody puts them at risk

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Child Custody

Fit parents would sacrifice almost anything for the safety and well-being of their children. They may work a job that makes them miserable or try to remain in a very unhappy marriage because they view that as the best option for their children.

If they divorce or separate, they may need to plan carefully for the children’s protection in that situation as well. Usually, parents in Louisiana have to share time with their children. Those divorcing the other parent of their children may negotiate an arrangement for sharing parental responsibilities or may require court support when establishing a custody order.

Most of the time, even those who spent very little time with their children prior to divorce can become involved and responsible parents. However, occasionally those sharing custody may worry that the other adult in the family neglects or abuses the children during their parenting time. How can someone protect their children from what seems to be a dangerous or unstable shared custody arrangement?

They can modify the custody order

Although the courts typically expect people to uphold custody orders, they will also consider requests to revise an existing custody order. The parent requesting a modification will either need the cooperation of the other parent or evidence of significant changes to family circumstances that would change what a judge believes would be in the best interest of the children.

One parent demonstrating abusive tendencies or an inability to meet the needs of the children could inspire a judge to make significant changes to an existing custody order. Of course, most judges have seen plenty of modification requests related more to conflict between the adults than the needs of the children. The parent requesting the modification will typically need evidence.

Keeping a written record of the issues that occur every time the children are with the other parent may help. Police reports and medical records can also serve as corroborating evidence when someone wants to modify a custody order. A judge needs to consider the dynamic that the parents have with the children and the stability of their households, as well as any record of misconduct or negligence, when evaluating a contested custody matter.

Occasionally, if a judge believes the children have experienced mistreatment or suffered due to the negligence of one parent, they may significantly reduce the parenting time granted to the adult engaging in abuse or neglect. The more evidence someone has supporting their claims, the greater their chances of success when taking a matter to the Louisiana family courts.

Parents who need to change custody arrangements to protect their children will likely need to seek legal guidance when gathering evidence and presenting their side of the situation to the courts. The stakes of such a situation are just too high to risk on one’s own.