Custody agreements serve as a roadmap for parents after a separation or divorce, outlining the care and responsibilities of their children.
However, circumstances change, and what worked initially might not be suitable in the long term. In Louisiana, altering a custody agreement involves a specific process that prioritizes the children’s best interests.
Grounds for modification
In Louisiana, the court allows modifications if there is a substantial change in circumstances or if the current agreement does not serve the child’s best interests. Some common grounds for modification include a parent’s relocation, changes in a child’s school or schedule, instances of substance abuse or a parent’s remarriage.
Initiating the modification process
To modify a custody agreement, one must file a formal request with the court that issued the initial custody order. It is important to complete the required forms accurately and provide substantial evidence supporting the proposed change. This might include documents detailing a change in employment, medical records or any other relevant information.
Navigating the legal procedure
Once you file the request for modification, the court will review the documentation provided. The court may also schedule a hearing where both parents can present their arguments and evidence supporting their stance. The judge will then make a decision based on the children’s best interests.
In some cases, parents might opt for mediation to settle their differences without going to court. Mediation involves a neutral third party who assists in reaching a mutual agreement. If parents reach an agreement, it gets submitted to the court for approval, potentially avoiding a trial.
While 70% of children lived with both parents in 2019, every family situation is different and evolves in its own way. For divorced parents, any custody modifications should align with the child’s well-being.