Does a Child’s Preference Have an Effect on Custody in Louisiana?
When parents get a divorce or unmarried people share a child, one of the most contentious and sensitive issues that arises can be child custody. Parents may argue about whom the child should live with and how much time they should spend with the other parent. Ideally, both parents will be able to share custody of their children, allowing the kids to maintain healthy relationships with their parents.
When determining a custody plan, courts will always look at what is in the best interests of the child. Some of the many factors they will consider include:
- The relationship between the child and each of the parents
- Each parent’s ability to raise the child
- The parents’ physical and mental health
- The child’s involvement in the community and at school
- The stability of the child’s environment
One factor that a court will also consider is a child’s preference, if the judge finds that the child is of sufficient age and maturity. Usually, the court will not consider a child’s opinion unless he or she is at least 12 years old. The preference of the child is not binding because it may not be in their best interest. Children may choose the parent that seems to have fewer rules, or a parent may try to manipulate a child into choosing them over the other parent. However, preference will be considered if the choice is based on the relationship with the parent and the parent’s involvement in the child’s education or social life.
A judge in Louisiana will not require a child to testify in court about their custodial preference. However, the judge will ask the parents to consent to an interview between the judge and the child. The parents will not be present at the interview, but their attorneys can be. The court reporter must record the interview so it can be used to decide custody.
Determining child custody in Louisiana can be complicated. However, an experienced attorney at Conroy Law Firm, PLC can help you through the process and work to determine a plan that is best for your child. Call us today at 985-606-3885 or contact us online to learn more about our services.