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Family Law

Protecting Your Child’s Best Interests In Custody Cases

Most child custody cases that I handle out of my southwest Louisiana law office are one extreme or the other. If an agreement can’t be resolved quickly and amicably, custody disputes become heated and end up needing resolution in family court. I recognize that emotions may run high, but parents must put aside their issues and focus on the best interests of their children.

Work With A Dedicated And Empathetic Advocate

I am divorce lawyer William Godley at the Godley Law Firm. In addition to being a practicing lawyer and former musician, I am also a child of divorce and have endured the process of marital dissolution myself. From those perspectives, I can help you find the most favorable resolution while looking out for the best interests of your children. Many cases are handled and resolved through mediation. That more peaceful process can be less expensive than an attorney.

I get involved if mediation has not resulted in a memorandum of understanding. I will try to negotiate with the opposing side. However, if the other party is being unreasonable in his or her demands and unwilling to be flexible, I will not hesitate to go to court. While a heated battle is not preferred, protecting the rights and interests of your children comes first.

I Understand What You’re Going Through

I can relate to what you and your children are going through during life-changing and emotionally charged times. Uncertainty of the future occupies your every thought. My job is to pursue the most favorable outcome through negotiation or litigation, allowing you to move on to the next chapter of your life.

Get The Answers To Your Child Custody Questions

You have many concerns when child custody becomes a central part of your divorce. The questions you have matter, and I want to help you find the relevant answers to your issues. Here are the most common questions clients come to me regarding their children’s living situation.

How is child custody decided?

Ideally, all parties come into divorce and agree on how the child custody situation will come together. Joint custody is a preferred option as it allows both parties a say in their children’s life, health and education.

If child custody is in dispute, the court will step in and create a parenting plan. They will look to the child’s best interests to determine this plan, and those best interests include:

  • The child’s physical and mental health
  • The conditions of the available homes
  • The educational opportunities
  • The relative safety of the child

There are many other factors that judges look at, but those are the most important.

Will I get sole custody?

It is possible to get sole physical and legal custody of the child. However, you generally need either your ex’s agreement or evidence of neglect or danger to the child. With that in hand, you can much more easily pursue sole custody.

Are grandparents eligible for visitation rights?

Grandparents, by law in Louisiana, have some rights to pursue visitation. However, those rights are limited. Generally speaking, these visitation rights are only available if the grandparent’s child passes or goes to prison. In these instances, they can pursue “reasonable” visitation in court. These rights are also extended to adult siblings of a child whose parent has died or gone to prison.

Does my child have any say?

Yes. Your child can state a preference for where they wish to live once they turn 11. However, the court takes a more expansive view of the topic than just the child’s wishes and may not necessarily agree with them. In some cases, the best interests of a child can overrule that child’s wishes.

Get Experienced Legal Help Navigating Custody Issues

Let me help you navigate the high-stakes custody issues you are facing. I am dedicated to serving you and your children with experienced legal guidance each step of the way.

To learn more, please reach out online or call my office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, at 800-560-3525.