Child support payments in Louisiana
Louisiana child support is the amount of money that a non-custodial parent is required to pay to the custodial parent in order to help cover the costs of raising their child. The state of Louisiana has established child support laws for determining the child support payments that must be paid.
If a couple with children gets divorced or lives apart, the court will usually order the parent who does not have the kids most of the time to pay child support to the parent who has the kids most of the time.
The amount of child support that is ordered will depend on things like how much money both parents make, how many children need support, and who has custody of the children.
Temporary assistance during divorce
During the divorce proceeding, Louisiana courts provide a spouse with an order for temporary assistance so they can take care of the children until the trial is over and the final child support orders are approved by the judge. The higher-earning non-custodial parent will almost certainly have to pay for some temporary support if a case drags on.
If a parent is not able to pay child support payments, they can contact their local child support office or the Department of Social Services for help. The agency will work with them to find ways to make child support payments more manageable. If a parent fails to make child support payments, they may face serious consequences including wage garnishment, suspension of driver’s license, or even jail time.
The first step in determining the amount of child support that must be paid is to calculate the combined income of both parents. This includes all forms of gross income, such as salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, unemployment compensation, and any other forms of income that are earned by either parent.
Determining earning capacity of a spouse
In some circumstances, if one spouse doesn’t work you can petition the court to impute income based on the spouse’s earning capacity. For example, if a spouse has a medical education and license to practice medicine but chooses not to have a job, the court could rule that their income is that of a doctor.
Additionally, a judge may impute income based on a parent’s work history. This can prevent cases where a spouse is voluntarily unemployed, or quits a job right before the divorce so they can pretend that they have zero income. Many times this won’t work, as the judge is likely to estimate his earning capacity and use this for the calculation instead.
Louisiana child support guidelines
Once the total household income has been determined, the next step is to apply the Louisiana child support guidelines. This has the formula to determine the amount of child support that must be paid. This formula takes into account the adjusted gross income of both parents, the number of children being supported, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.
The formula is designed to ensure that the non-custodial parent pays their fair share of the costs of raising the children, while also allowing the custodial parent to receive the financial support they need to provide for their children.
These guidelines provide a table that shows the appropriate amount of child support that should be paid based on the combined income of the parents, the number of children being supported, and the parenting time of each parent.
The court will typically order the non-custodial parent to pay the amount of child support indicated by the guidelines unless there are compelling reasons to deviate from the guidelines.
If the non-custodial parent has a high income and the custodial parent has a low income, the court may order the non-custodial parent to pay a higher amount of child support in order to provide more financial support for the children.
If a child needs significant medical support, the non-custodial parent may have to contribute more to offset the cost of medical insurance and treatments.
If one parent has significantly more parenting time than the other, or one child spends the majority of their time with a single parent, the child support award may be adjusted by the judge even if there isn’t a sole custody order.
Beyond the basic child support obligation
In addition to the basic child support payment, the court may also order the non-custodial parent to pay for other expenses related to the children, such as medical and dental expenses, educational expenses, and extracurricular activities. The court will determine the amount that the non-custodial parent must pay for these expenses based on their income and the needs of the children.
Child support enforcement
Once the court has ordered the non-custodial parent to pay child support, it is the responsibility of the custodial parent to enforce the child support order. The custodial parent can request that the child support payments be made by direct deposit, deducted directly from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck, known as wage withholding. They can also ask the court for help enforcing child support orders if the non-custodial parent fails to make the required payments.
In some cases, the custodial parent may need additional financial support beyond the basic child support amount. For example, if the custodial parent is unable to work due to illness or disability, or if the children have special needs that require additional expenses, the court may order the non-custodial parent to pay additional support.
If you are a non-custodial parent in Louisiana, you are responsible for paying child support. The amount of child support you are required to pay is based on your income and the number of children you have.
If you are unable or unwilling to pay the full amount of child support, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the other parent. You may also be able to modify your child support order if there has been a change in your circumstances. If you fail to pay child support, you may be subject to enforcement actions, including wage garnishment and seizure of assets.
If you have questions refer to our resource and child support calculator below.
calculation by clicking here
Louisiana Child Support Resources
Department of Children and Family Services, Child Support Enforcement
PO Box 94065, 627 N. Fourth Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
Office: (225) 342-4780
Fax: (225) 342-7397