Under Louisiana law, courts make decisions about child custody based on the standard of the child’s interests. The courts will consider many different factors when determining the best interests of the child. If you and your former spouse are in the process of writing a parenting plan or making decisions about child custody, it is important to both understand your rights and the process.
In many cases, the only possible course for you and your family is to write a parenting plan outside of court, with the assistance of a child custody lawyer in Alexandria, Louisiana like the Jones Law Firm. In a parenting plan, you and your former spouse will make decisions about where the child will reside, how visitation will be arranged, how the child will be transported to visitations, and how holidays will be spent. A thorough parenting plan will also stipulate how decisions about the child’s upbringing will be made. Questions about the child’s extracurricular activities, religious activities, and medical decisions should be addressed, at least in outline, in the parenting plan. A strong parenting plan can often be written outside of court and be approved by a judge.
Why is it a good idea to write a parenting plan with your former spouse outside of court? When custody disputes are taken to court, decisions about custody, visitation, and decision-making may be made by a judge. When these decisions are left up to a judge, the decisions made may not be satisfactory to either party involved. If you and your former spouse are in the process of making decisions for child custody in Alexandria, Louisiana, it is wise to seek assistance. Questions about child custody during a divorce or separation can be among the most emotionally challenging and stressful decisions you’ll have to face. Having the top child custody lawyers in Alexandria, Louisiana at the Jones Law Firm on your side can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Contact our firm today to learn more.
Interests of the Child Standard in Alexandria, Louisiana
Sometimes, both spouses are unable to agree on an adequate child custody plan outside of court. If this is the case, both individuals may need to go to court for child custody. According to the Louisiana State Bar Association, there are six standards that are typically used when a judge determines child custody in court. Each parent will be scrutinized based on these standards during the course of the case. In general, the courts favor outcomes where joint custody is awarded to both parents. While one parent may have physical custody of the children, both parents will enjoy time with the children and be able to make decisions about the children’s activities, religion, and medical choices.
So, what are factors that a judge will decide when determining the better interests of the child? Here are the six factors:
- The child’s relationship with both parents. The judge will consider the child’s relationship with each parent when making decisions about where the child will reside and how visitation will be arranged.
- Which parent has cared for the child. If you are seeking primary physical custody of the child, you will probably want to show that you are the child’s primary caretaker.
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the material well-being of the child. Each parent’s income and assets will be considered. The children’s potential residence will also be taken into account. Can one parent provide a more stable home environment?
- Each parent’s ability to provide a continuing relationship with the child. The courts favor that children continue to enjoy a relationship with both parents. Only in the cases of the most egregious abuse or serious danger to the child will the courts limit a parent’s ability to contact his or her children. A parent who is trying to limit one parent’s contact with the children may not be viewed in a favorable light based on this standard. If you and your ex have a contentious relationship, you may want to seek counseling before moving forward with child custody plans. It is never a good idea to try to work out conflict with your ex using a parenting plan.
- Each parent’s moral, mental, and physical health. The child’s better interest standards can sometimes feel arbitrary, and here is one area where each judge might be a little different. Is drinking on the weekend acceptable morally? Is dating before the divorce is finalized acceptable? While many couples make these decisions in private, during a child custody case, the parent’s moral decisions, mental health, and physical well-being will be aired in court.
- The wishes of the child. If your child is old enough, his or her own wishes may also be considered during a child custody trial.
If you are in the process of making child custody decisions, it is important that you understand your rights and that you understand the standards that will be used by the courts. The Jones Law Firm are one of the leading child custody lawyers in Alexandria, Louisiana. Our top child custody attorneys will review your unique circumstances and help you build the strongest possible case. If you think your child custody case might go to court, call the Jones Law Firm today.
What Should I Put in My Parenting Plan in Alexandria, Louisiana?
Whether your child custody case goes to trial or is handled in private, your parenting plan must include and address some important questions. What are some things you should include in your Alexandria, Louisiana parenting plan? Here are a few things:
- Name the parent with physical custody, or if both parents share custody, list times and dates when the child will reside with each parent.
- List visitation times.
- Clarify how holidays will be divided between each parent.
- Clarify how the children’s transportation needs will be met.
- Clarify how changes to the schedule should be negotiated.
- Guidelines for introducing children to new dating partners.
- Guidelines for how decisions for the children will be made.
- Guidelines for communication and guidelines for how disagreements will be resolved.
- Guidelines for making medical decisions.
- Decisions about the child’s attendance of religious services.
- Guidelines for after school activities.
As a child grows, these considerations will evolve, so a parenting plan should be sufficiently flexible to allow for changes and modifications as needed. The courts will look for clarity and flexibility in these plans. It is important that you and your former spouse take the time to carefully consider your parenting plan. Once finalized, a parenting plan can be very difficult to change or modify. If you are in the process of developing a parenting plan, consider speaking to the top child custody lawyers at the Jones Law Firm in Alexandria, Louisiana. We can help you draft a thorough parenting plan that can grow with your child. We will consider both your wishes and your children’s best interests while helping you develop the best possible plan for your family.
Have a few common questions you need answered immediately? Be sure to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for some answers pertaining to Mr. Jones' cost and availability. If you'd like to know how much it will cost to consult or retain Mr. Jones for your family, traffic, or injury cases, please visit our FAQs or contact us immediately. Don't see a question you need answered? Send us a message by visiting our contact page.
Learn more about why we are best suited to help you reach your goals!
The Jones Law Firm is a small firm established in November of 2009. The Firm was established upon a foundation of specific principals. We aim to use these principals to renew the reputation of attorneys. We are small; this allows us to know your case intimately. We understand the law; this allows us to accurately explain your rights and options. We are honest; you will develop a trust in us and come to know that we will always protect your best interests. We work hard; we make ourselves accessible and are always happy to answer questions or lend advice.
We believe that the practice of law is an honor, not a privilege. That honor is greatly respected by our firm. It is an honor to be able to aid our clients through difficult and trying tribulations. We understand that your case is the most important event in your life. We appreciate that fact, and we make sure that our actions reflect your desires.
Our goal, whether it be through settlement or trial, is always to ensure your complete satisfaction.
WE WIN, FOR YOU! Let me explain. You only have one case, one chance. Your case is the most important problem in your life at the moment. It should be my most important problem too. You should not be just another client in the system.
At the "big" law farms (not firms), your case will get lost in the shuffle. You will be treated like another number, a profit margin. At the Jones Law Firm, you will be treated like a person, with dignity. You will meet a real lawyer who will talk to you like a real person with real issues.
Oh, and did I mention WE WIN! Now, I cannot guarantee results. No lawyer can. If a lawyer promises results up front, he is a liar not a lawyer. No lawyer can predict the decision of a judge or jury. But, I can guarantee that we will plan, organize, and present a beautiful trial.
That is why we win. We maximize your chances of success.
We are technologically advanced; we are procedurally efficient; we are eloquently persuasive. We are organized, meticulous, dedicated, and prepared. Most importantly, we do this not for the case or numbers - we do this for you! You'll see, like all of our other happy clients will tell you. Check our reviews and call me. I'll prove it!