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How to File for Joint Custody in Louisiana

Title: How to File for Joint Custody in Louisiana: A Comprehensive Guide


Filing for joint custody in Louisiana requires careful consideration and adherence to specific legal procedures. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on filing for joint custody in Louisiana, outlining the necessary steps, requirements, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help parents navigate this process successfully.

Filing for Joint Custody in Louisiana: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Understand Louisiana’s Laws and Guidelines
Familiarize yourself with Louisiana’s laws regarding child custody. Louisiana courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.

Step 2: Consult with an Attorney
Seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can provide legal advice tailored to your unique situation. They will help you understand your rights, obligations, and the legal processes involved in filing for joint custody.

Step 3: Draft a Parenting Plan
Both parents should work together to create a detailed parenting plan that outlines various aspects of custody, including visitation schedules, decision-making responsibilities, and financial arrangements. This plan should prioritize the child’s well-being and be mutually agreed upon.

Step 4: File a Petition for Joint Custody
To initiate the joint custody process, file a petition with the appropriate Louisiana court. The petition should include details about the child, current custody arrangements, and a request for joint custody. Ensure that your petition is clear, concise, and in compliance with Louisiana’s legal requirements.

Step 5: Serve the Other Parent
The non-filing parent must be legally served with a copy of the petition. This ensures that they are aware of the custody proceedings, giving them an opportunity to respond.

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Step 6: Attend Mediation or Custody Evaluation
In many cases, Louisiana courts require parents to attend mediation or a custody evaluation session. These sessions aim to help parents reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement. Mediators or custody evaluators can provide recommendations if an agreement is not reached.

Step 7: Attend the Custody Hearing
If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation, a custody hearing will be scheduled. Both parents must attend this hearing and present their case before a judge. The judge will consider the best interests of the child when making a custody determination.

Step 8: Follow the Court’s Orders
Once the court has granted joint custody, both parents must adhere to the court’s orders. Violating these orders can have serious legal consequences and may affect future custody arrangements.


Q1: What factors do Louisiana courts consider when determining custody arrangements?
A: Louisiana courts prioritize the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the child’s age, physical and emotional wellbeing, parental stability, and the ability of each parent to provide a safe and nurturing environment.

Q2: Can joint custody be awarded if the parents do not get along?
A: Yes, joint custody can still be awarded even if parents have communication or relationship issues. The court may require parents to attend counseling or mediation sessions to improve their ability to co-parent effectively.

Q3: Can grandparents file for joint custody in Louisiana?
A: In certain circumstances, Louisiana allows grandparents to seek joint custody. However, they must demonstrate that it is in the best interests of the child and that the child’s parents are unfit or that a significant harm would result from denying custody.

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Q4: Can joint custody arrangements be modified?
A: Yes, joint custody arrangements can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances or if one parent demonstrates that the current custody arrangement is not in the child’s best interests.

Q5: How long does the joint custody filing process typically take in Louisiana?
A: The duration of the joint custody filing process can vary. It can range from a few months to a year, depending on factors such as court availability, complexity of the case, and the parents’ ability to reach an agreement.


Filing for joint custody in Louisiana involves understanding the state’s laws, creating a comprehensive parenting plan, and navigating the legal process. Seeking professional legal advice and adhering to the court’s requirements are essential for a successful outcome. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, parents can better navigate the joint custody filing process in Louisiana.

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