Custody and Visitation Rights for Grandparents

Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
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Grandparents in Louisiana have the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren. Generally, grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights if they can demonstrate that they have a close and substantial relationship with the grandchild and that visitation is in the best interest of the child. Factors that the court will consider include the relationship between the grandparent and the child, the amount of contact the grandparent has had with the child, the child's preference, and the amount of disruption that granting visitation rights would cause to the child's life. 

In Louisiana, grandparents may be awarded custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances. When the parents of a child are unable or unwilling to care for a child, the court may grant custody to the grandparent or other relative. Generally, this occurs if the parents are incarcerated, have died, or have been deemed unfit. Other reasons for grandparent custody include abandonment, drug or alcohol abuse, or when the grandparent can provide a more stable environment than the parents. In most cases, grandparents will need to file a petition with the court requesting custody or visitation. The court will consider the best interests of the child in making this determination. The court may also consider the child's relationship with the grandparent. Grandparents may also be awarded visitation rights if they are not awarded custody. 

If the parents are divorced or separated, the court will usually award custody and visitation to the parent who has been awarded custody by the divorce or separation decree. However, the court may award custody or visitation to the grandparents if it is determined that it is in the child's best interests.

Grandparent Visitation

Grandparent Visitation

Grandparent visitation is the right of a grandparent to visit with the grandchild. It is a legal right that is granted by the court to a grandparent who has either filed a petition or has been granted legal standing by a court to visit with a grandchild. 

A grandparent may need help to ask for visitation rights to their grandchildren. A grandparent may intervene or sue to ask for visitation of the grandchildren. A grandparent must show extraordinary circumstances exist and must show that it is in the best interest of the grandchild to have visitation. The judge considers the length and quality of the relationship with the grandchild and grandparent, whether the grandparent can provide unique guidance and support the parent cannot, the grandchild's wishes, the mental and physical health of the grandparent, and the willingness of the grandparent to encourage a good relationship between parent and child. 

Grandparent Custody

Grandparent Custody

Custody is the legal right to make major decisions for a child, including decisions about education, medical care, and activities. it is most often granted to one or both of the child's parents, but it can also be granted to other relatives such as a grandparent or another guardian. Custody is typically granted through a court order and is usually permanent, although it can be modified.

Grandparent visitation is different from custody as it does not grant any legal rights over a child but rather the right to visit with the child. 

In Louisiana, grandparents do not have an automatic right to custody of their grandchildren. To get grandchild custody grandparents must prove to the court that they are fit to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child and that it is in the best interest of the child to be placed in their care. This may include proving evidence of financial stability, a stable home environment, and a willingness to provide the necessary care and support for the child.

In Louisiana, grandparents must show that parental custody will cause substantial harm to the child. This means something serious such as abuse, violence, abandonment, or neglect. Grandparents may need to provide evidence of the child's relationship with their parents, such as evidence of neglect or abuse. Grandparents in Louisiana may have a difficult time getting custody of their grandchildren because the state has a strong preference for a child to remain with their parents. The court will only grant custody if it is determined that the child's parents are so unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home environment. 

In order to get custody, grandparents must file a petition for custody in the court where the child resides. The court will then consider factors such as the child's relationship with the grandparents, the child's current living situation, and the child's physical and emotional needs. The court may also consider the wishes of the parents and the child. 

Last Review and Update: Feb 06, 2023
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