Men face unique issues in divorce, custody, visitation, child support and paternity. When parents divorce or unmarried parents split up, neither has a natural right to enjoy custody pending your first court appearance. Louisiana does not have temporary custody pending a court judgment, unless one of two things has been alleged:
1) the need for emergency custody,
2) domestic violence.
If one party alleges that the other parent poses a danger to the children pending the first court appearance, then a civil court judge may grant emergency (without hearing) temporary custody to one parent.
Some examples of a danger to the children are:
a DWI, an arrest, illegal or illicit drug use, hospitalization for mental illness and a diagnosed mental illness. If one party alleges that the other parent has committed an act of domestic violence, then a civil court judge may grant a restraining order (without hearing) including temporary custody to one parent, pending hearing on a Petition for Protection from Domestic Abuse. Additionally, if one parent has been arrested for an act of domestic violence, then a criminal court judge may grant a restraining order of temporary custody under Gwen’s law.
Divorced Fathers’ Rights:
Divorced Fathers have the same rights as divorced mothers in seeking custody or visitation, and same obligation as divorced mothers to contribute to the support of their children. Unmarried Fathers’ Rights: Merely being on a child’s birth certificate is not a Judgment of Paternity. Law enforcement will usually, but not always, recognize paternity if a Father is on the birth certificate, however it is not a judgment of paternity. When an unmarried Dad seeks custody or visitation, a Petition for Filiation, will also have to be filed. Another potential complication exists if the Mother is divorced after conception but before birth, or married at the time of conception or birth. Louisiana then recognizes an antiquated legal precept of dual paternity. This means that a child may have a biological Dad and legal Dad. To undo this morass, a disavowal, will have to be done. However, it can only be done with the consent of the legal Dad. Until a disavowal is done, a child may have two Fathers.
Paternity & Disavowal:
If a former girlfriend or wife asserts that you are the Dad and you have ANY doubts, buy a paternity test at your local drug store or online IMMEDIATELY to determine if you are the Father. If you are, congratulations! If the mother won’t give you access to the child, go see a lawyer ASAP. If you are not the Father and you were or are married to the mother, or your name is on the birth certificate, call a lawyer NOW. There are time limits on being able to get your name off the birth certificate. Similarly, if you believe a child is yours and you are not being allowed time with your child, call a lawyer TODAY.
There are time limits on your being able to assert your paternal rights if the mother has married someone else. Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC has 24 years of experience representing Dads and husbands in Amite, Baton Rouge, Chalmette, Covington, Denham Springs, Franklinton, Gonzales, Gretna, Hammond, Harvey, Kenner, Livingston, Madisonville, Mandeville, Metairie, New Orleans and Slidell, in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. Call 985-892-1955 for a office consultation or free phone consultation.