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Legal Information: Louisiana

Statutes: Louisiana

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Updated: 
February 15, 2019

§ 364. Child custody; visitation

A. There is created a presumption that no parent who has a history of perpetrating family violence, as defined in R.S. 9:362, or domestic abuse, as defined in R.S. 46:2132, or has subjected any of his or her children, stepchildren, or any household member, as defined in R.S. 46:2132, to sexual abuse, as defined in R.S. 14:403, or has willingly permitted another to abuse any of his children or stepchildren, despite having the ability to prevent the abuse, shall be awarded sole or joint custody of children. The court may find a history of perpetrating family violence if the court finds that one incident of family violence has resulted in serious bodily injury or the court finds more than one incident of family violence.

B. The presumption shall be overcome only if the court finds all of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

(1) The perpetrating parent has successfully completed a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program as defined in R.S. 9:362, or a treatment program designed for sexual abusers, after the last instance of abuse.

(2) The perpetrating parent is not abusing alcohol or using illegal substances scheduled in R.S. 40:964.

(3) The best interest of the child or children, considering the factors listed in Civil Code Article 134, requires the perpetrating parent’s participation as a custodial parent because of the other parent’s absence, mental illness, substance abuse, or other circumstance negatively affecting the child or children.

C. The fact that the abused parent suffers from the effects of the abuse shall not be grounds for denying that parent custody.

D. If the court finds that both parents have a history of perpetrating family violence, custody shall be awarded solely to the parent who is less likely to continue to perpetrate family violence. In such a case, the court shall mandate completion of a court-monitored domestic abuse intervention program by the custodial parent. If necessary to protect the welfare of the child, custody may be awarded to a suitable third person pursuant to Civil Code Article 133, provided that the person would not allow access to a violent parent except as ordered by the court.

E. If the court finds that a parent has a history of perpetrating family violence, the court shall allow only supervised child visitation with that parent pursuant to R.S. 9:341.

F. If any court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that a parent has sexually abused his or her child or children, the court shall prohibit all visitation and contact between the abusive parent and the children pursuant to R.S. 9:341.