If you are a Louisiana grandparent, a time may come when you believe securing custody of your grandchild would be in his or her best interest. Maybe your grandchild already spends the majority of his or her time under your care, or perhaps you have concerns or doubts about the child's mother or father's ability to raise the child. Regardless of your reasoning for wanting custody of your grandchild, certain circumstances must be present for you to move forward in your pursuit.
If your grandchild's parents have begun divorce proceedings, Louisiana Grandparents Raising Grandchildren reports that you may be able to seek custody if you can demonstrate that living with his or her parents would cause your grandchild considerable harm. You may be able to pursue custody through this method if you believe your grandchild is experiencing neglect or abuse.
You may also petition the court for visitation, if your child is "not available" to allow you to visit. If your child is in jail, on drugs, suffering from a mental illness or has passed away, the Court may give you a right to spend time with your grandchild.
You may also be able to secure a protective order for your grandchild if you suspect abuse, in which case a judge may be able to grant you immediate, temporary custody. The next step would be a hearing held within 30 days, and if abuse is proven, you may receive custody of your grandchild for a period of six to 18 months. If the state has already taken your grandchild out of the custody of his or her parents because of abuse or neglect, you may also be able to request custody, as leaving a child in the care of a family member is typically preferable to placing him or her in foster care.
Arguably the easiest way to assume custody of your grandchild would be to have the child's parents sign off on it via a Voluntary Transfer of Custody. Such agreements can be temporary or permanent in nature.
This information about Louisiana grandparent custodial rights seeks to inform you, but it should not replace personalized legal guidance.