According to the Louisiana Civil Code, joint custody is presumed to meet the best interest of the child unless "it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that custody to one parent would serve the best interest of the child." The parents can resolve custody issues out-of-court, and the court approves this agreement if it finds it fair.
To evaluate what custody arrangement would be better for the child in a particular divorce case, the court typically considers factors such as:
- the relationship between a child and each parent;
- the ability of each parent to give a child love and care;
- the ability of each parent to raise a child;
- the mental and physical health of all the parties involved;
- the parents' and child's preferences regarding custody;
- and any other factors that the court considers significant.
Custody can be distinguished as two different types - legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent's decision-making power. Physical custody determines who provides the primary residence for the child and who is responsible for the day-to-day care of the child. The court may award sole or joint custody. In the case of sole physical custody, the parents still may share legal custody, and the second parent can have visitation hours according to the schedule, which shall be established for each divorce case separately.