It is unfortunate to hear fathers in Louisiana believe they do not not have equal rights to custody of their child. Some fathers believe the mother is entitled to Full Custody because the mother carried the child and is the primary care giver. Fathers have actually expressed that they believe courts will ALWAYS award primary custody to mothers.

FALSE!

Fathers can provide the same level of care as a mother. Fathers are 100% capable and able to receive equal rights of custody to their child. 

In Louisiana we have the standard of “Best Interest of The Child.” It may be in the best interest of the child for both the mother and father to have join custody OR the father can be awarded Sole Custody of the child. Fathers should not feel as if they cannot fight for the custody of their child due to a presumption in favor of the mother. 

Filiation is the first step to fighting for custody of your child

Filiation is the legal relationship between parent and child. Filiation is established by proof of paternity. In Louisiana, the husband of the mother is presumed to be the father of the child born during marriage or within three hundred days from the date of termination of the marriage. If the child is born outside of marriage, there is not a presumption of paternity for the father. There are a few ways to establish paternity if the child is born outside of marriage.

Red Flag: Adding the father’s name to the birth certificate is not a legal way to establish paternity in Louisiana 

A father can institute an avowal action to petition the court to establish filtration between the father and the child. The father can launch an avowal action within one year of the child’s birth if the child is presumed to be the father of another man or one year from when the father knew or should have known or ten years from the child’s birth if the mother bad faith deceived the father. 

YOU ARE NOW FILIATED TO THE CHILD. NOW WHAT?

The next step is to FIGHT for your child. The father and mother canon come to a consent judgment which basically means the father and mother create a custody agreement together. The alternative option is a considered decree. For a considered decree the court will use consider the “best interest of the child” to determine the best custody arrangement.  A few factors the court will consider: 

  1. Love, affection and other emotional ties between each party and child
  2. Capacity and disposition of each party to give love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child
  3. The capacity to provide food, clothing, medical care and other material needs
  4. Length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment 
  5. The permanence of proposed custodial home
  6. Moral fitness of each party as it affects the welfare of the child
  7. Mental health of each party
  8. The home, school, and community history of child
  9. Reasonable preference of the child
  10. Willingness of each party to encourage close and continuing relationship
  11. Distance between the prospective residences of the parties
  12. The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party

If you are a father who would like to fight for the custody of your child we can help!

Written By: Darrinisha L. Gray, Esq