Louisiana is a state with a high divorce rate; in fact, the state carries the fourth highest divorce rate of the nation. For every 1,000 married people, almost 21 were divorced as of 2016.

Divorce is never an easy thing. Louisiana is a community property state, which means the division of assets and personal property or real estate is done by equal disbursement: anything that is acquired during the length of a marriage is considered in general to be community property.

While it’s pretty cut and dry as to how to go about dividing up your home and other assets, there’s something that’s got you worried about your divorce: the well-being of your children. Children ideally get to spend time equally with both parents, but this isn’t always the best choice or always the case. You need a child custody and divorce attorney who will work with you to help you win your case and keep your kids with you. Here is how to fight for custody of your kids so you know what to expect when you go to court.

Prove Best Interest for the Kids

Have you always been the primary parent for your kids? Are you keeping the house the kids are raised in as part of the property division? Are you able to keep the kids in the same school district and otherwise keep their lives as normal as possible if they stay primarily with you following divorce?

These are things your lawyer and the judge will take into consideration when working on child custody in your case. You have to prove that you are the parent who should have primary or sole custody of your kids based on their best interests, barring any immediate danger the other parent may pose to them.

Prove Unfit Parenting for the Other Parent

Another way you can get custody of your kids after hiring a divorce lawyer is this: proving the other parent to be unfit. This can be done by showing proof or concern of drug use, abuse, criminal history or recent criminal activity, concerns of your shared children about the mental health of the other parent, and even job loss or other issues the other parent may have.

Proving another parent unfit should only be done if you fear for the safety and health of your kids and should be strongly discussed with your divorce attorney before bringing any type of evidence to court. Custody battles can be tough and frustrating, so having as much evidence as possible to prove your ability to raise your children fairly with the other parent can be key to winning greater custody rights.

Prove You’re Fair in Parenting Efforts

The judge will want to see that you are willing to work with the other parent to come up with child custody agreements as part of your divorce. You should show that you are willing to come up with a parenting plan for your kids, will pay child support as instructed — if applicable — and are able to communicate with the other parent without malice. If you can prove you are fair in parenting efforts and aren’t trying to win custody to be vindictive or to avoid paying child support, then you may be more successful in your custody requests.

Getting divorced in Louisiana is an unfortunately common thing. However, you can make the transition easier for you and your kids by working with a law firm that will help make your child custody case stronger. Write down all your concerns about custody of your kids so you don’t forget, and share these concerns with your family law attorney during your consultation.