This article is a continuation of a series on Article 134 of the Louisiana Civil code, which codifies, in part, the definition of the best interests of the child for the divorce lawyer, court, and all interested parties. This article, in particular, deals with Louisiana Civil Code Art. 134(3), which factors into child custody cases the ability of each parent to provide the material needs, such as food, clothing, medical care, to the child.
In some ways, this particular section of article 134 boils down to one thing: money. It considers the ability and the willingness of each parent to give their children material goods and services. While a court may take this factor into consideration, it does not mean that the parent with the most money always gets custody of the child. This is far from the case, and a divorce lawyer will likely show the court why this would be an injustice; in fact, numerous courts had repeatedly held that simply being able to provide for a child is all that the court is looking for. For example, there may be a case where one parent makes more than the other, but also where the parent with less income can still reasonably provide for the child’s well-being.
Just because one parent is able to provide for their child despite making less money than the other parent, this does not mean that that a court will necessarily conscience a child suffering a reduced standard of living to be with that parent. For example, if a child has grown accustomed to expensive schools, extracurricular programs, and other productive luxuries, a court may consider this if custody with one parent means these benefits would cease to exist; however, the court would more likely use child support to help equalized the two households in order not to have the child suffer as a result of the breakup of the parents.
In addition to the wealth and ability to pay of each parent, a court also looks at their willingness to do so. If one parent’s divorce lawyer shows the other parent to be significantly more selfish in how they spend their money, that is, if they are shown to repeatedly and excessively spend money on themselves at the expense of providing for their child, a court could consider this determinative in awarding custody. A hypothetical example of this would be in a situation where one parent is financially irresponsible, or perhaps displays a discernable weakness for some vice, such as gambling.
In many cases, the ability of each parent to pay for the child’s needs and wants is not extremely different, or at least not so different that section (3) of article 134 can be considered in the absence of applying other sections as well. In addition, many times custodial arrangements occur in the wake of other familial legal proceedings, such as divorce. In cases such as these, obviously the court would also consider any monies which would be changing hands in the divorce. Examples include child support and alimony payments.
While section (3) of article 134 does provide a divorce lawyer and family law courts of Louisiana with some guidance regarding child custody, it is unlikely that it will be considered in the absence of other sections of the article as well.
Will Beaumont is a divorce lawyer in New Orleans. This article is informational, not legal advice. One of the reasons that child custody may be the most contentious areas of family law, is the enormous financial pressure that comes with raising a child and because of the parents’ desire to ensure that their child is raised with sufficient resources. If you would like more information, contact New Orleans divorce lawyer Will Beaumont for a free consultation or see http://www.beaumontdivorce.com/
- Louisiana Family Law: Civil Code Article 134(1) and its Applicability to a Divorce Lawyer
- Louisiana Family Law: Civil Code Article 134(2) and its Applicability to a Divorce Lawyer
- Louisiana Family Law: Civil Code Article 134(4) and its Applicability to a Divorce Lawyer
- Louisiana Family Law: Civil Code Article 134(9) and its Applicability to a Divorce Attorney
- Louisiana Family Law: Civil Code Article 134(7) and its Applicability to a Divorce Attorney