Over 80 percent of custodial parents in this county are mothers. While laws are supposed to ensure parents are treated equally, many judges continue to follow the traditional belief that mothers are always better parents.
Moreover, unwed fathers may face additional problems seeking more time with the children. If two unmarried people have a child, the mother who bore the child has custody by default, and the father has no right to parenting time. However, fathers may file papers seeking designation as the legal father and, thus, entitled to parenting time and even custody.
Fathers should not delay seeking more custody. As time elapses, it is harder to establish a strong relationship with the child.
Protection orders, in some situations, can also have devastating consequences to fathers. These orders purport to protect children and parents from an abusive parent or family member and are issued by a court without the alleged abuser being present. These are designed to provide emergency relief when protection is needed immediately.
If a parent believes this process may be abused, they should have a witness present during visits with their children. Video may be recorded with a smartphone. Judges may use video to help determine whether a parent constitutes a threat. However, any secret recording made must comply with the provisions of Louisiana law.
An attorney can help parents pursue their legal rights in court and seek a fair and equitable custody or support order. They can help parents present evidence on the best interests of the children.