Louisiana Parenting Plan and Agreement Guidelines

The laws about Louisiana parenting plans and agreements are found in the Louisiana Civil Code and the Louisiana Revised Statutes.

Here are some guidelines from the Code to help you make your parenting plan.

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Joint custody

If parents have an agreement about custody, the court will order custody according to the agreement. If parents do not have an agreement or the agreement is not in the best interest of the child, the court will order joint custody.

Joint custody is when both parents have the authority to make decisions about the child and the child spends time living with both parents.

With joint custody, the parents must exchange information about the child's health, education, and welfare of the child and confer with each other to make decisions about the child.

Custody may be ordered to one parent if the parent can show it is in the best interest of the child.

Joint custody implementation order

The joint custody implementation order is the plan for how parents will share joint responsibility for the child. Parents can make their own joint custody plan or the court will order one if the court orders joint custody.

Your parenting plan for joint custody should include:

  • A parenting time schedule that shows when each parent has physical custody
  • How the parents will allocate and share legal custody and authority
  • Who the domiciliary parent is, or who the child primarily lives with

You can also include information in your plan about:

Factors that affect the child's best interest

The court will approve or make a joint custody plan that is in the best interest of the child.

The court considers the following when deciding what is in the best interest of the child:

  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each parent and the child
  • The capacity of each parent to give the child love, spiritual guidance, and education
  • The capacity of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, etc
  • How long the child has lived in a stable environment
  • The permanence of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes
  • The moral fitness of each parent, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The home, school, and community history of the child
  • The reasonable preference of the child
  • If each parent encourages the child to have a close relationship with the other parent
  • The distance between the respective residences of the parents
  • Each parent's previous responsibility for the care and rearing of the child
Process to make your plan official

If you and the other parent negotiate a joint custody agreement, you can submit your agreement together to the court. The court will check your agreement to make sure it is in the best interest of the child and if it is, the court will approve it.

If you and the other parent don't agree on your plan, the court can order you to attend mediation. In mediation, you and the other parent will meet with a mediator to work out an agreement. If an agreement is made in mediation, the mediator will prepare a written agreement and submit it to the court.

If you and the other parent can't work out an agreement, you will go to court and the judge will decide your custody plan.

Seminar for divorced parents

The court may require parents involved in a custody and visitation proceeding to attend a seminar or parenting class.

The seminar will contain information on the following topics:

  • The developmental stages of childhood and the needs of children at different ages
  • Stress indicators in children adjusting to divorce and the grief process
  • The possible enduring emotional effect of divorce on the child
  • Changing parental and marital roles
  • Recommendations about visitation to enhance the child's relationship with both parents
  • Financial obligations of child rearing
  • Conflict management and dispute resolution

The information from the seminar can help you make your parenting agreement.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

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The top fifteen cities in Louisiana (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Metairie, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Kenner, Bossier City, Monroe, Alexandria, Marrero, New Iberia, Houma, Laplace, Slidell.

Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.

Make Your Plan