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What is necessary to modify a Louisiana custody order?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Family Law |

Parents who break up in Louisiana have to divide their parental rights and responsibilities with one another. Some parents are able to negotiate their own parenting plans. An uncontested custody filing resulting from a mutual agreement can include provisions that parents feel are important for their family.

When parents do not agree on custody matters initially, they can pursue a contested or litigated custody decree by taking the matter to family court. Judges in Louisiana family court make decisions based on what they believe might be in the best interests of the children. Those terms then stand until the children become adults or the family updates the custody order. Yet, parents subject to a custody order in Louisiana may want to change or modify the terms of that order at some point.

What is typically necessary for parents to formally change the terms of a Louisiana custody order?

The agreement of the other parent

As with the process of establishing an initial custody order, modifying a custody order can be easier when the parents agree on the details. Provided that both adults in the family agree that certain changes are necessary, it is possible to modify a custody order with limited judicial oversight and input. The adults can cooperate for an uncontested modification that quickly adjusts the custody order to include more appropriate terms.

A material change in circumstances

In a scenario where the parents do not agree about the need for a modification or what terms they should change, a judge can grant a hearing for a custody modification request. There is a burden of proof that the parent requesting the modification must meet. Typically, they need to establish that there has been a material change in family circumstances. A change in employment arrangements, a move to a new school or a parent starting a new relationship with an abusive partner might all constitute material changes.

The parent seeking the modification must also establish that the terms they propose would be in the best interest of their children. Provided that someone has adequate evidence of changes to the family and how their proposed custody modifications may benefit the children, a judge could very well agree to make modifications to an existing Louisiana custody order.

Taking the time to formally modify a custody order can be beneficial for those concerned about their children’s upbringing. Parents who understand Louisiana’s family statutes may recognize when they need to take legal action to adjust a custody order.