Child Custody Laws in Louisiana

Louisiana child custody laws may be similar to other states across the U.S., but this is not always the case. It’s always a good idea to save yourself some time and money by brushing up on the child custody laws in your state. All of the Louisiana child custody laws will influence your case in one way or another. Do your own research and talk with a Louisiana family law professional to better prepare yourself for the road ahead.

Louisiana child custody laws have their own preferences

In most cases, Louisiana courts prefer to grant joint custody to both co-parents. This type of custody designates both co-parents as a custodial parent of the child. Most Louisiana courts and family law professionals believe that it is in the best interest of the child to have a frequent and meaningful relationship with both co-parents, especially with younger children. Louisiana child custody laws can apply joint custody to both physical and legal types of custody. A co-parent with physical custody acts as the primary residence for the child and handles the day-to-day care of the child. A co-parent with legal custody handles all of the important decision making for the child; this would include decisions regarding education, religion, health issues, and so on. Co-parents split both legal and physical aspects with joint custody.

Louisiana child custody laws put you in control of your own case

Louisiana child custody laws encourage co-parents to create their own joint custody agreement. They can then submit their proposal to the court for approval. Most of the time, the court will approve any reasonable custody agreement that is in the best interest of the child. Louisiana child custody laws require that this plan designates an agreement regarding the residence of the child, rights to access and communication to the child given to both co-parents, child support amounts, and any other relevant details. If they cannot come to an agreement the court will decide the arrangement based on a number of factors, which help to determine the best interest of the child. Some of these factors include the following.

  • The quality of the relationship that each co-parent has with the child.
  • The ability of each co-parent to provide and care for the child, including financially and emotionally.
  • Which co-parent has been the primary caretaker for the majority of the child’s life?
  • The mental and physical health of all parties involved in the case.
  • The willingness of each co-parent to facilitate and encourage a lasting and quality relationship between the other co-parent and the child.

Louisiana child custody laws may not always grant joint custody

Louisiana child custody laws also allow for sole custody of the child if the situation is appropriate. Sole custody can also be applied to either physical or legal custody. In most cases where one co-parent has sole legal custody of the child, the non-custodial co-parent will be given visitation rights if it is in the child’s best interest. Louisiana child custody laws may also award visitation rights to other family members or third-party individuals if the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child. The court will consider a number of factors when determining visitation rights including the following:

  • The preference of the child based on their age and maturity level.
  • The length and quality of the relationship between the child and the individual seeking visitation.
  • How the individual seeking custody can provide for the child in a way that the co-parents cannot.     

This information is not to be used as legal advice. For additional aide and legal information please consult with a Louisiana family law professional. For a list of resources in Louisiana visit our Helpful Links – Louisiana page. The OurFamilyWizard website® is dedicated to providing co-parents with the tools and resources they need to easily manage their custody agreements.


NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.