LouisianaChild Visitation Laws
Louisiana Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
What is child visitation?In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.
In general, courts in Louisiana assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.
Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Louisiana, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.
Above all else, courts in Louisiana strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about Louisiana's visitation guildelines on this page.
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How are Visitation Rights Granted?
In Louisiana, a biological parent of a minor child may request visitation rights as part of an open divorce, parentage or custody case. A parent seeking visitation may also file a petition for visitation if none of these circumstances apply.
The court will decide a request for visitation based on whether granting a parent visitation would be in the "best interests of the child."
What is considered in a child's "best interests" include:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child
- 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
- The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes
- The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child
- The mental and physical health of each party
- The home, school, and community history of the child
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference
- The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party
- The distance between the respective residences of the parties
- The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party
A court may award visitation rights if the child's parent is deceased or declared legally incompetent, a grandparent is the parent of the deceased or incompetent parent to the grandchild, and visitation is in the child's best interest. Adoption cuts off the visitation rights of grandparents except in circumstances where the grandparents are the parents of a deceased party to the marriage or the parents of a party who has forfeited his or her rights to object to the child's adoption.
In the state of Louisiana, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Louisiana's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.
Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In Louisiana:
Louisiana has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. Under state law, the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents are alive, regardless of the parent's marital status.
Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, a Louisiana court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In Louisiana:
Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Louisiana?
Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.
Under Louisiana law, legal provisions do exist to grant child visitation rights to step-parents under certain circumstances, so visitation can be readily applied for. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Louisiana?
Under state of Louisiana law, it may be possible for other individuals to be granted visitation rights by the court. This might include relatives other than the child'a parents, previous caregivers, etc.
Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Louisiana?
In the state of Louisiana it may not be possible to be granted visitation rights after losing parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.