Lafayette Grandparents Rights Lawyer

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Lafayette Grandparents Rights Attorney

The role of grandparents in a child’s life can be invaluable and enriching, often serving as a source of stability, love, and wisdom. However, grandparents’ legal rights can be difficult to understand, especially when they collide with the parents’ rights.

Louisiana law recognizes the significant bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. Louisiana grants grandparents legal rights to visitation or custody in some instances. However, these rights are not automatic and are considered under certain circumstances when it is in the child’s best interest.

Louisiana courts recognize the right of the parents to make decisions about their child’s upbringing. Grandparent custody and/or visitation rights typically come into play only when certain conditions are met. Some factors considered are whether the parents cohabitate or live separately; whether a parent is deceased or incarcerated; whether a parent is involved in drugs or alcohol abuse; and/or whether a parent is prone to abuse the child.


While the law acknowledges the potential importance of grandparents, it also respects the rights of parents to make decisions regarding who can have relationships with their children. Courts generally assume that a fit parent’s decisions regarding their child’s social interactions serve the child’s best interests.

The law recognizes the potential of these relationships in contributing to a child’s overall well-being while respecting parents’ rights to make choices regarding their child’s upbringing. The legal journey may be challenging, but in many cases, it’s a crucial pathway to preserving invaluable family bonds.

At Laura L. Davenport, LLC, we understand the delicate dynamic between grandparents and parents in family law disputes. Our experienced legal team can advise on the best course of action for preserving a grandparent-grandchild relationship while also respecting a parent’s rights.

Laura L. Davenport recognizes the importance of grandparents’ rights in Louisiana. While grandparents generally do not have automatic visitation rights, the court may grant it under certain circumstances.


Under Louisiana law, grandparents can legally request visitation rights to their grandchildren under certain circumstances. The laws for grandparent visitation changed in 2018. Now, the rules for grandparent visitation vary depending upon the relationship status of the parents of the children. There is one standard for grandparents seeking visitation with their grandchildren when the parents of the children are married or living together as married persons. There is another standard for grandparents seeking visitation when the parents of the children are divorcing or not living together as married persons.

If the parents of the child are not married or cohabitating with a person in the manner of married persons or if the parents of the child have filed a petition for divorce, a grandparent may be awarded visitation if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child. Before making any determination, the court shall hold a contradictory hearing in order to determine whether the court should appoint an attorney to represent the child.

In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider only the following factors:

(1) A parent’s fundamental constitutional right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their own children and the traditional presumption that a fit parent will act in the best interest of their children.

(2) The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the relative.

(3) Whether the child is in need of guidance, enlightenment, or tutelage which can best be provided by the relative.

(4) The preference of the child if he is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.

(5) The mental and physical health of the child and the relative.

If the parents of a child are married and have not filed for divorce or if the parents of a child are living together as married persons, different standards apply. If married, and one parent dies, is interdicted, or incarcerated, the parents of the deceased, interdicted, or incarcerated party without custody of such minor child or children may have reasonable visitation rights to the child or children of the marriage during their minority, if the court in its discretion finds that such visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child or children.

If living together and one parent dies or is incarcerated, the parents of the deceased or incarcerated party may have reasonable visitation rights to the child or children during their minority, if the court in its discretion finds that such visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child or children.

Therefore, pursuant to the 2018 amendment, the court may no longer consider the general best interest factors or other considerations in determining a child’s best interest in a visitation context. Rather, the trial court may only consider the five factors set forth in the amended version of Louisiana Civil Code Article 136. Under this article, a grandparent—as a statutorily designated person permitted to seek visitation under the article—must only show that the visitation sought is reasonable and in the child’s best interest.


If you are concerned about the care your grandchildren are receiving from their parents, or if your grandchildren have been living in your home for a period of time, it may be necessary to seek custody. With legal custody of your grandchildren, you will be better able to seek medical care, to enroll them in school, to obtain driver’s license, and/or to seek social services on your grandchildren’s behalf. Louisiana allows grandparents to take this step in certain situations.

Under certain circumstances, you may petition the court for custody of your grandchildren during your child’s divorce proceeding. Louisiana Civil Code article 133 governs custody disputes between a parent and non-parent, providing: if an award of joint custody or of sole custody to either parent would result in substantial harm to the child, the court may award custody to another person with whom the child has been living in a wholesome and stable environment, or otherwise to any other person able to provide an adequate and stable environment.


Here are some steps grandparents in Louisiana might expect in this process:

  1. File a petition for visitation rights or custody
  2. Serve all interested parties
  3. Gather admissible evidence and witnesses
  4. Attend a Hearing Officer Conference
  5. File an objection to Hearing Officer Recommendations
  6. Prepare for and attend trial
  7. Prove your case through the submission of evidence and direct and cross examination

How Can Laura L. Davenport Help?

Navigating family law can be complex. Our team at Laura L. Davenport has over 17 years of experience in family law only. They are committed to advocating for grandparents’ rights in Louisiana. Whether you’re seeking visitation or custody, Laura L. Davenport will provide compassionate and knowledgeable assistance tailored to your unique situation. Contact us for personalized legal support.

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