5 Essential Tips for Winning Child Custody in Louisiana
The ending of every relationship is difficult, but when the parties have children together, the ensuing custody battle can become downright nasty. Instead of going their separate ways, the parties must work together to co-parent effectively.
Most parties acknowledge that the other party is a good parent and accept that it’s best that they continue to play a significant role in their child’s life. Sometimes the parties will be able to come to a mutually agreeable custody and visitation arrangement on their own. Other times, however, one parent may decide to fight for sole custody out of anger or one party may be unfit to have custody or even visitation. In cases where the parties disagree on custody and visitation, the matter is taken to family court so that a judge or Commissioner can decide.
Winning your child custody case is critical. To do so, you must demonstrate to the court that being awarded custody is in the best interest of your child based on the unique circumstances of your case. While the court will consider many different factors to determine what’s in the best interest of your child, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to help you win your child custody case in Louisiana.
1. Exercise your parental rights
To win a child custody case, you must be able to show the court that you have been, are, and will be, involved in your child’s life on a consistent basis. The first step is to take advantage of your parental rights and see your children regularly. It’s also important to show the court that you are an active participant in your child’s education and overall growth as a person. For example, you can show the court that you are involved in parent-teacher conferences, extracurricular activities and support your child’s unique talents and interests.
2. Show that you are willing to cooperate
One of the key factors that the judge or Commissioner will consider when determining child custody is whether the petitioner parent shows a willingness to cooperate both with their ex and with the court.
While tensions may run high between yourself and the other parent, you must be able to show that you are able (or at least willing) to co-parent amicably with your ex. Whether it’s complying with a visitation schedule, consulting with the other parent regularly on important parenting decisions, or refraining from criticizing the other parent in front of your children, it’s important to demonstrate to the court that your focus is the best interest of your children and not fostering hostility with your ex.
Likewise, demonstrating a willingness to cooperate with the court is equally important. The judge or Commissioner may require you to take parenting classes, participate in an anger management course, or seek counseling. If so, complying with the court’s orders is another way you can show that you are willing to do whatever is in your child’s best interest.
3. Take advantage of an in-home custody evaluation
During an in-home custody evaluation, a mental health professional evaluates you and your relationship with your child inside of your home. After repeating the process with your ex, the professional will make a custody recommendation to the court. An in-home custody evaluation can provide the court with a clearer picture of your ability to be an effective parent and counter any negative impressions or accusations that may have arisen during the case.
4. Put your best (parenting) foot forward
Remember that the court’s objective is to find a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of your child. To that end, it’s important that you present yourself in the best light possible. Simple things like dressing appropriately, observing proper courtroom decorum, and arriving on time to all hearings and appointments can go a long way in demonstrating your sense of responsibility and reliability.
Another part of putting your best foot forward is not using alcohol or drugs, especially in front of your children. Remaining sober and clear-headed will show the court that you are responsible, stable, and can provide a loving environment where your children can thrive; the opposite, however, can be used as evidence that you are unfit to be awarded custody.
5. Team up with an experienced Louisiana child custody lawyer
Winning custody of your children can have a huge impact on your life and your child’s. With such important matters at stake, you want to make sure you have the best help during your custody proceedings. An experienced child custody lawyer can ensure that you have the opportunity to show your suitability as a parent, gather evidence and witnesses to testify, file motions on your behalf, and counsel you on the best course of action throughout your child custody case.
Take control of your child custody case with Betsy A. Fischer, LLC
At Betsy A. Fischer, LLC we understand that your children are the most important people in your life and that safeguarding your right to custody is your top priority. With over 25 years of experience helping parents navigate the difficult process of winning child custody, we offer experience, knowledge, and compassionate representation of Louisiana parents located in Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, and throughout southeast Louisiana. To get your child custody case on a winning track, contact our Metairie office today to schedule your initial consultation.