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Legal Information: Louisiana


November 21, 2023

Can a parent who sexually abused my child, or another child, get custody?

In Louisiana, the judge will assume that any parent should not be awarded sole or joint custody if s/he:

  1. subjected any of his/her children, step-children, or any household member to sexual abuse, which is defined as committing any of the following:
  2. the parent had the ability to prevent another person from committing sexual abuse against his/her children or step-children but s/he “willingly permitted” it to happen.2

However, the sexually abusive parent may be able to convince the judge that s/he should get custody if the abusive parent can prove all of the following:

  1. the parent has successfully completed a treatment program designed for sexual abusers after the last instance of abuse;
  2. the parent is not abusing drugs or alcohol; and
  3. the parent’s participation as a custodial parent is required for the child’s best interest because:
    • the non-abusive parent is:
      • absent;
      • mentally ill;
      • abusing drugs; or
    • there are other circumstances that negatively affect the child.3

If your child was conceived as a result of rape, see If my child was conceived as a result of rape, can the offender get any rights to my child? for more information.

1 ​LA R.S. §§ 9:364(A); 14:403(A)(4)(b)
2 ​LA R.S. § 9:364(A)
3 LA R.S. § 9:364(B)