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When can a child custody arrangement be modified in Louisiana?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Family Law |

A Louisiana custody order is a family court order that a judge has the authority to enforce. Typically, the parents subject to a custody order need to cooperate with each other to fulfill the terms of the order and act in the best interests of their shared children.

Families often require some time to adjust to a new schedule but will find ways to make shared custody arrangements as functional as possible. Occasionally, parents will reach the conclusion that their existing custody order doesn’t work for the family anymore. To change the schedule or the division of parental authority, someone subject to a custody order will need to go back to court and request a formal modification.

When the parents agree on specific terms

Perhaps the fastest and easiest means of modifying a custody order is through mutual agreement. Parents can file an uncontested modification request when they are both in agreement about the need for certain changes and how they should adjust their custody order. Adding new details to the order or altering the division of parenting time are both among the most common uncontested requests made by parents who share custody. Even those modifying a custody order through agreement will need to show that the changes would be in the best interests of the children.

When the situation meets certain standards

When parents disagree about the need to update their custody order, Louisiana family law judges make the decision about what changes are necessary. Parents can anticipate that a judge will seek to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. They will also review the filing carefully to determine whether or not it meets the standard for a modification under current Louisiana rules.

A modification made without an agreement will require proof that there is a material change in circumstances that has altered the family situation since the creation of the original custody order. The parent requesting the modification will also need to show that the specific terms they seek will be in the best interest of the children. The current standard in Louisiana requires that parents show the benefits to the children would outweigh any challenges for the child caused by a changing order. Qualifying changes might include evidence that one parent has failed to fulfill their parental obligations or completely new schedules for members of the household.

Understanding the rules that guide custody modification proceedings may benefit those who question whether their current custody order truly serves the best interests of their children. Seeking legal guidance can help a parent to gain this important clarity.