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Can an abusive parent get custody or visitation rights?

If your child's other parent has a history of domestic violence, you may assume that he or she will be denied any type of custody or even visitation rights if the two of you are no longer together. However, in Louisiana, that's not necessarily the case.

A judge may grant a parent joint or sole custody or unsupervised visitation as long as the parent is not abusing alcohol or drugs, has completed some type of treatment program successfully, is not considered a danger to the child and it's in the best interest of the child for that parent to be in the child's life.

If the parent in question has sexually abused a child, that parent cannot be granted unsupervised visitation. If the parent has successfully completed a treatment program for sexual abusers, he or she may get supervised visitation if it's deemed to be in the child's best interest.

If a parent is concerned about a child being alone with the other parent, he or she can ask the court to require that all visits with the child be supervised. Supervised visits usually involve having the other parent or a family member there. However, this is generally a temporary situation if the parent shows that he or she can be trusted with the child.

If you are concerned for your child's physical and/or emotional well-being with your co-parent and wish to seek supervised visitation, you should consult with a Louisiana family law attorney. He or she can work to take the necessary steps to help you ensure your child's safety.

Source: WomensLaw.org, "State Custody Information," accessed Aug. 19, 2015

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