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Child Custody

Children come first in most families. Unfortunately, issues arise when a couple’s relationship fails, oftentimes creating a hostile environment for the children that can lead to serious consequences. New Orleans attorney, Rachel C. Schmidt, sees to it that your children’s best interests are represented.

In Louisiana, there are several forms of child custody and many different types of visitation agreements, and you should know the differences between them to make an informed decision. The process begins when a party files a Petition.  At that point, the case is handled differently in different parishes.

Some parishes (Jefferson and St. Tammany, to name a few) schedule a meeting with a person called a Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer conducts a private, informal meeting where the parties attempt to work out their differences.  If the parties can come to an agreement then they stipulate to terms, which will later be formalized into a Consent Judgment that will be filed with the court and will dictate the details of the custody agreement and visitation schedule.  If the parties cannot agree on the terms of custody and/or visitation, the Hearing Officer will offer recommendations that will become a final judgment and dictate the terms of the custody and/or visitation of the children if neither party files an Objection to the Hearing Officer Recommendations.

In parishes that do not employ Hearing Officers, such as Orleans Parish (for example,) a formal hearing is set and each party will get an opportunity to call witnesses,  present evidence and make arguments in front of a Judge, who will then decide the child custody based on the best interest of the children.

Once a Petition is filed that requests child custody to be determined, either party may attempt to agree on the terms of the custody and/or visitation agreement without court intervention.  Figuring out a custody arrangement that best suits the parties’ needs can cut down court costs and attorney fees and can let the parties decide the way they would like to handle child custody and/or visitation.  Slidell attorney, Rachel C. Schmidt, always approaches custody and visitation disputes with a cooperative attitude, where appropriate, and only if it will ultimately provide the parties with a workable custody and/or visitation Consent Judgment that will preserve civility between the parties and keep costs low.

Not all child custody and visitation cases are suitable for Consent Judgments. Some cases require intense litigation to achieve the best result. Mandeville attorney, Rachel C. Schmidt has the litigation experience to fight for you and your children in a court of law.

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