Child Custody Attorneys Practice in Covington and Surrounding Areas
Big firm experience with a small firm approach
In any divorce involving children, the top priority is making sure they are in a good position for the years ahead. For the legal guidance you need related to child custody, turn to the attorneys at Michael D. Conroy, PLC in Covington. We work hard to ease your concerns and outline an effective, carefully planned strategy that benefits both you and your children.
Knowing your rights and options related to child custody
The following are some important concepts to understand as you work toward a sound custody arrangement with your former partner:
- Physical custody — Either parent may be granted the right to have their children live with them, either full time or part time. It is possible for parents to share physical custody, usually when they live relatively close to one another.
- Legal custody — Parents have the right to make key decisions on their children’s education, religion, health care, social life and other aspects of upbringing. Legal custody is often shared by both parents, requiring them to work together.
- Sole custody — This means that a child lives full time with one parent or one parent has all of the legal decision-making powers. Increasingly, family courts are moving away from awarding sole legal or physical custody to one parent except where children’s potential safety is at issue.
- Joint custody — Physical and/or legal custody may be shared under a parenting plan that a court finds to be in the children’s best interests.
- Visitation — All custody agreements make some provision for the noncustodial parent’s right to visit and spend time with their children.
In determining custody, family law courts take into account several factors, including the parents’ ability and willingness to cooperate, the bonds children and parents have formed and the children’s physical, mental and emotional needs. In many cases, a top priority is to allow children to maintain a similar lifestyle that they enjoyed before their parents separated.
A court may refuse to grant joint custody if it finds that one of the parents is violent, abusive, neglectful or otherwise unfit. If it finds that neither parent may be awarded custody without substantial harm to the child, the court may designate another person, such as a grandparent, who is able to provide an adequate and stable environment.
Understanding court guidelines on visitation rights
A court may award visitation rights to a non-custodial parent or even a grandparent if visitation is found to be in the best interests of the child. Factors the court may consider in its decision include:
- The length and quality of the relationship between the child and the relative
- Whether the child is in need of guidance from the relative
- The preferences of the child, especially a teenager
- The mental and physical health of the child and the relative
The court presumes that a fit parent has the child’s best interests in mind, but if a parent is violent, the court may require supervision of his or her visits until it is satisfied that the parent can be trusted.
Making effective use of the uniform child custody law
Louisiana, like most states, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which determines which state’s courts have the power to make decisions in interstate custody and visitation matters. When a parent moves from one state to another after a divorce, taking a child with them, the UCCJEA prevents the court in the state of relocation from making or modifying a custody decision. We know how to avail our clients of the maximum protections of this powerful statute.
Contact a dedicated child custody lawyer today
For dependable legal advice on child custody and other related issues, meet with a knowledgeable family law attorney at Michael D. Conroy, PLC in Covington or Metairie. To get started, call us at 985-606-3885 or contact us online today. We are proud to serve clients in Covington, Mandeville, Metairie and the surrounding communities of Louisiana.