Louisiana Civil Code Tit. V, Art. 136. Award of visitation rights

A. Subject to R.S. 9:341 and 364, a parent not granted custody or joint custody of a child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation would not be in the best interest of the child.

B. In addition to the parents referred to in Paragraph A of this Article, the following persons may be granted visitation if the parents of the child are not married or cohabitating with a person in the manner of married persons or if the parents of the child have filed a petition for divorce:

(1) A grandparent if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child.

(2) Under extraordinary circumstances, any other relative, by blood or affinity, or a former stepparent or stepgrandparent if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child.  Extraordinary circumstances shall include a determination by a court that a parent is abusing a controlled dangerous substance.

C. Before making any determination under Subparagraph (B)(1) or (2) of this Article, the court shall hold a contradictory hearing as provided by R.S. 9:345 in order to determine whether the court should appoint an attorney to represent the child.

D. In determining the best interest of the child under Subparagraph (B)(1) or (2) of this Article, the court shall consider only the following factors:

(1) A parent's fundamental constitutional right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their own children and the traditional presumption that a fit parent will act in the best interest of their children.

(2) The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the relative.

(3) Whether the child is in need of guidance, enlightenment, or tutelage which can best be provided by the relative.

(4) The preference of the child if he is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.

(5) The mental and physical health of the child and the relative.

E. If the parents of a child are married and have not filed for divorce or they are living in concubinage, the provisions of R.S. 9:344 shall apply.


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