Legal, Physical, Shared, Joint, Split, Sole. When a family unit breaks up, whether the parents are married or not, maintaining the best interests of the child(ren) are of utmost importance.  When most kids (and parents) go from seeing one another daily to anything other than that, it’s quite an adjustment. To children it can be extremely unsettling when they cannot fully understand the circumstances, heightened by potential animosity between the parents. 

Working with an experienced child custody attorney when you have not been able to create and implement a mutually beneficial custody plan on your own, helps to mitigate the process and keep the best interests of the child at the forefront. By understanding the different types of custody arrangements in Louisiana, you can be fully equipped for these conversations.

Physical & Legal

Each case is different, but when determining custody, both physical and legal custody is determined. Physical custody pertains to the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, whether joint, split, shared, or sole custody. Legal custody is the distinction given to one parent, making them responsible for the important decision making for the child, including education, religion, and health. When the parties share joint legal custody, it is customary for one parent to be deemed the “domiciliary parent,” becoming the primary decision maker, or in essence, the tie-breaker when parents cannot come to an agreement.

Joint & Shared Are Not The Same

JOINT CUSTODY:  The default rule in Louisiana, unless it is not in the best interests of the child, joint custody results in shared physical custody working within a schedule that is made in the child’s best interests. Many times, this does not result in equal time spent with both parents, although both are given opportunities to communicate and bond with their child. 

SHARED CUSTODY: When both parents have an amicable relationship and live relatively close to one another, it is easier to enact a shared custody agreement, in which time is split more or less equally between parents. Requiring constant communication and cooperation, shared custody provides both parents with equal responsibility with parenting and legal authority.

SPLIT CUSTODY: It’s worth it to note that when there is more than one child, split custody is another type of agreement that can be made. In this situation, each parent can be awarded sole custodial or domiciliary parent of at least one of the children. This is a rare and complex agreement, essentially placing one sibling with one parent and another with the other parent.

Sole Legal & Physical Custody

SOLE CUSTODY: Also rare, sole custody agreements can be made in Louisiana, giving full legal and physical custody to one parent and removing the other from the child’s life. Many factors go into this decision, all stemming from “what is in the child’s best interest?” This does not exclude the non-custodial parent from visitation, although more restrictions, including supervised visitation, may be put into place. This is most commonly enacted when a judge deems one parent to be unfit, whether due to a history of violence or substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, and other determining factors.

Any parent facing a custody agreement can benefit from the guidance of an experienced child custody attorney. We understand that structuring a child custody and visitation agreement can be an emotional undertaking. The Law Office of Michael A. Rosenblatt works with you through negotiation and court cases when necessary, helping you navigate towards an agreement that is in the best interests of the child.

The Law Office of Michael A. Rosenblatt works through this process with clients, allowing marriages to move forward comfortably and confidently.