Child Custody and Visitation Lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
If you have a child with someone to whom you have never been, or are no longer, married, one of the most important decisions you will have to make involves child custody. You will need to make decisions regarding both legal and physical custody, with legal custody referring to both parents’ legal right to make decisions on behalf of the children, and with physical custody referring to where the child will live. While most child custody resolutions involve both parents sharing legal custody, usually one parent will get physical custody of the children with the other parent getting limited periods of physical custody. The care and upbringing of children following divorce is often an ongoing source of conflict for children and parents, as divorced parents often have an array of issues they must resolve and come to terms with before starting the next chapter of their lives. Some of the many questions that come up in these situations are: Who gets the primary custody? How many days of physical custody/visitation are allowed? Will this fit into the child’s school schedule? How does that fit into the parents’ work schedules? With home does the child prefer to live?
These are the types of questions that come up in custody hearings, and they also happen to be the types of questions that can prolong the conflict and increase tensions. With the help of a qualified child custody attorney, this “ongoing conflict” can be mitigated and you and your child (or children) can find stable ground. While some child custody decisions must be brought before a judge, it is often in the best interests of the family for parents to try to resolve their child custody questions outside of court with the assistance of a child custody attorney like Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. When parents bring their child custody issues before the courts, the judge might make a custody or visitation decision that neither parent wants. Changing a child custody decision can be very challenging. Get it right the first time. Reach out to Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf, child custody lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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What Should You Include in a Parenting Plan in Louisiana?
If you and your partner are separating or divorcing or plan to live apart, or if you are the parent of a child born out of wedlock, you’ll need a parenting plan that can be approved by the courts. A parenting plan must include information about which parent will have physical custody of the children, which parent will have legal custody, and how periods of physical custody/visitation will be arranged. The parenting plan should also include information about how disagreements will be managed. In some cases, compromises are arranged in the language of the parenting plan itself. If parents cannot put together a parenting plan outside of court, a judge may put one in place for your family.
Custody must address both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody typically involves allocating parental rights and responsibilities regarding the day-to-day care and activities of the children. The parent who is selected to have physical custody will be in charge of the child on a daily basis, and the child will often live with that parent. Legal custody typically involves allocating the legal rights and responsibilities associated with the child’s upbringing. A parent with legal custody is typically in charge of deciding factors of the child’s life such as what school they will attend, religious upbringing, psychological counseling, and more. Joint legal custody is possible, as well, so long as the parents are willing to cooperate in such a manner. In general, the courts tend to favor giving both parents shared legal custody.
Sometimes the parents agree to an arrangement; sometimes the court determines one for them. In the past, courts routinely gave mothers physical custody and gave fathers visitation rights. Today, more and more, the courts have begun to allow children to share time with both parents, and, in many cases to reside with the father. When child custody decisions are left to the courts, the judge will decide who will have physical custody based on which parent can best provide for the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of the children.
In general, the courts favor joint ongoing child-rearing responsibilities with the children. The sharing of physical custody can take on a variety of plans or schedules, depending upon the needs of the children and/or parents. Every family is unique and the arrangement that will work best for your family will depend on where you reside, your activities, and your desires.
If You Are An Out-Of-State Parent And Need Legal Counsel Regarding Your Child In Louisiana
No matter whether you have always lived in another state or started out in Louisiana and then moved away, if your child is in Louisiana, you may need legal representation here. Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf is here for you.
Do you need to initiate a custody or support modification or respond to one? Do you need help with enforcement of a court order regarding your child who lives in Louisiana most of the time? Our family law attorneys can help you with any situation such as these.
Perhaps you already have a divorce and custody lawyer who has advised you in the past in your state. The family law team at Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf will collaborate with your out-of-state attorney to represent you and your child, or attorneys at the firm can handle your case here from start to finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Bring us your unique concerns and questions such as the following:
What is a typical child custody arrangement?
When parents live within a manageable distance of each other, one parent may have primary physical custody and the other will have visitation – maybe every other weekend, alternating holidays and school breaks, including summers. Also, parents may seek modifications when children’s needs change, parents’ job schedules change or one parent moves out of state or out of the area. Ideally, parents should agree to arrangements that suit their family routines while also protecting the best interests of the child.
What is the difference between custody and visitation?
Physical custody refers to where a child lives. Legal custody means one or both parents’ decision-making authority. The term “visitation rights” describes parenting time for a parent who does not have primary physical custody ̶ ideally on a regularly scheduled basis. Depending on family circumstances and the agreement between the parents (or a court order), the nonprimary custodial parents may travel for visitation with the child or the child may travel according to schedule to spend time with that parent. If a nonprimary custodial parent has an addiction problem or other concerning impediments, a court may order supervised visitation with that parent.
How can parents in different states have joint custody?
Custody includes both legal and physical custody. Joint legal custody can involve both parents in decision-making by phone, mail or video conferences. Joint physical custody or custody and visitation may require regular travel by the child or by either or both parents to facilitate parenting time. The distance factor may mean that parents will need to get creative about creating a realistic, workable arrangement. For example, a child may spend most of the school year with one parent and every summer, winter and spring break with the other.
Get Answers And Help From A Trusted Family Law Attorney
The advice and assistance of a family law attorney can help parents to establish child custody and visitation agreements that focus on the interests of the children. Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf are child custody lawyers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who work with families to help them find a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children and will work for their families.
If you are currently in a situation where you are have children outside of marriage, or are going through a divorce with children involved, then give Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf a call and get advice from a child custody attorney with over 25 years of experience. Our reputation for success will help put you at ease and keep your life moving forward. “When you need answers, we are here to help.”