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What parents must prove for a Louisiana custody modification

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2023 | Child Custody |

It is quite common for divorced or separated parents in Louisiana to disagree about custody matters. Parents sometimes need to attend mediation to resolve their disagreements. Other times, a judge decides how much time each adult has with the children and how to split decision-making authority.

A Louisiana custody order imposes obligations on both parents and could potentially put the children in an untenable situation. Either parent may believe that they need to change the custody order for the protection or well-being of the children. If the other parent does not agree with their assertion, they likely need to pursue litigation in family court. The parent likely needs to establish two important facts during a modification hearing if they want a judge to change their existing custody order without the agreement of their co-parent.

A material change in circumstances

Something about the family’s situation needs to be substantially different now than it was when the couple agreed to a custody order or a judge decided how to divide parental rights and responsibilities. Minor changes, like the potential future deployment of a military parent, do not constitute material changes.

Incidents involving abuse and neglect, major changes to employment arrangements and significant changes in parental relationships with the children could constitute material changes that justify a modification request. Typically, the parent asking the courts to revisit custody arrangements needs proof that the situation is different now than it was before.

How changes may benefit the children

The parent proposing an adjustment to the current custody arrangements typically needs evidence about how those changes would benefit the children. Simply being able to spend more time with each parent could be beneficial in some cases. Clear proof of harm occurring in one environment could also be evidence that a significant change to custody arrangements may be in the best interests of the children. The nature of the issue leading to the modification request determines what type of evidence someone needs to convince the courts that the proposed adjustments would be beneficial for the children.

Knowing what the courts expect someone to establish may decrease the stress involved in pursuing a Louisiana custody modification. Seeking personalized legal guidance can be helpful in this regard.