She has twenty-five (25) years of experience litigating child custody matters. Prior to entering into private practice in 1994, she handled termination of parental rights litigation for the State of Louisiana. In her private practice, she has handled the most complex custody cases including:
- Sole custody
- Supervised visitation
- Restricted visitation
- Non-parent custody
- Private termination of parental rights litigation
Our focus in any child custody case is always the BEST INTERESTS of the CHILD. Resolving any child custody case without a trial is always the goal, however, if a trial becomes necessary, Katherine L. Hurst has extensive trial experience in child custody litigation.
Joint Custody versus Sole Custody
Louisiana law presumes joint custody is in the best interests of the child. Sole custody is awarded only if it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that sole custody is in the best interests of the child(ren).
Fathers and Custody
Fathers often feel they are at a disadvantage in custody litigation. Although the law does not allow an automatic preference for either the mother or the father, in some jurisdictions it remains harder for a father to obtain custody than the mother. The majority of Katherine L. Hurst’s custody clients have been fathers. She has successfully obtained for her male clients joint custody with a liberal physical custody schedule, domiciliary status, and, in those cases where it was warranted, sole custody.
These cases involve parties who have been raising a child who is not theirs and seek custody against the biological parents. Ms. Hurst has successfully obtained custody for many non-parents by proving to the Court that awarding custody to the biological parents would result in substantial harm to the minor child(ren).
Private Termination of Parental Rights Litigation
The Louisiana Children’s Code provides certain instances where a party, who has custody of a child, may petition to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents. Ms. Hurst filed the very first private termination of parental rights case in Lafayette Parish, 15th Judicial District Court and has successfully litigated numerous private termination of parental rights cases.
While Louisiana law has traditionally been hostile to the gay community, Katherine L. Hurst has proudly been an ally by representing gay parents over the years to obtain custody of their children. As always, the best interests of the child should always be the determining factor in any child custody case, and Ms. Hurst has successfully advocated that a parent’s sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining custody.