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Under what grounds can grandparents gain custody in Louisiana?

While you may have any number of reasons for wanting to gain custody of your grandchildren in Louisiana, there are specific grounds under which you may start the process. Generally, grandparents have limited rights to their grandchildren, due in large part to a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling dictating that extraordinary circumstances must be present for anyone other than a child’s parents to have decision-making power. There are, however, three situations under which you may be able to pursue custody.

First, the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Information Center of Louisiana reports that you may be able to gain custody of your grandchild if the child is removed from parental custody by the state due to abuse or neglect. The state often contacts relatives first in such situations, anyway, as placing an abused or neglected child with an alternative family member is often the most desirable course of action.

You may also seek custody of your grandchild if the child’s parents are divorcing and you can effectively demonstrate that the child would be better off in your care. This is hard to prove, and you are more likely to get custody amid divorce if you can prove that abuse or neglect is taking place when the grandchild in under his or her parent’s care.  

If you do believe your grandchild is subject to abuse at the hands of his or her parents, you may be able to garner immediate temporary custody at a judge’s discretion by filing a protective order. You must show proof of the abuse at a hearing held within 30 days of your filing, and if your burden of proof is sufficient, you may get custody for somewhere between six and 18 months.

This information about grandparent custodial rights seeks to educate you, but it should not replace legal advice. 

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