In Need of A Child Support Attorney in Baton Rouge, LA?
At the Russell Law Firm, LLC, our Baton Rouge child support attorneys represent parents throughout Louisiana during their divorces and/or child custody cases, so they understand their legal rights and options to pay or receive a fair amount of child support.
Our family law attorneys in East Baton Rouge Parish help our clients understand how child support is calculated and, based on their unique cases, how it can be set privately through a mutual support agreement, or via litigation through a Louisiana family court.
Multiple factors are considered when determining the amount of child support to be paid, which is governed by legal guidelines. It is important for Louisiana parents to understand the courts may deviate from the guidelines under certain circumstances.
We can help you understand what that means for you and your children’s financial stability starting with a case evaluation.
How is Child Support Determined in Louisiana?
The State of Louisiana has a set of specific child support guidelines based on an income share method. This approach is designed to ensure that both custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their children’s well-being.
The major components associated with Louisiana child support decisions include:
- The child custody share.
- The number of minor children the parents share.
- Each parent’s adjusted gross income.
- Childcare costs.
- Extraordinary medical costs.
Under the income share model, the Louisiana family courts use economic guidelines to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents’ combined income.
Under this model, a child support determination example would include:
- The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month.
- The custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month.
- The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month.
- The non-custodial parent’s income is 66.6% of the parent’s total combined income.
- Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Louisiana law allows the judge overseeing the child support order to use a shared custody
agreement as justification for a variation from the state’s general child support calculations.
How Long Does Child Support Last in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the obligation to pay support for children usually ends when they reach 18.
However, there are important exceptions to this general rule, including if the child is 18, and:
- Is a “full-time” student in a “secondary school” in “good standing.”
- He or she became mentally or physically disabled before age 18.
- He or she has a disability that is so severe that he or she is incapable of self-support.
- He or she requires substantial care and personal supervision.
At The Russell Law Firm, LLC, We Also Focus On The Following Practice Areas:
The Russell Law Firm Is In Your Corner, And We Fight To Win
If you are pursuing a divorce with children, or have never been married to your children’s other parent, contact our dedicated Baton Rouge child support attorneys today at (225) 307-0088 or online to get the legal support you need to produce real results for your unique case.
Frequently Asked Questions for Child Support in Baton Rouge
Child support is intended to provide financial assistance to meet the material needs of the child, such as food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, and other necessary expenses.
If your ex has missed a child support payment in Louisiana, you have legal options to enforce the child support order. You can contact the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Child Support Enforcement Division or file a motion for contempt with the court. The DCFS can take actions to enforce child support, such as wage garnishment, intercepting tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses, or taking legal action. The court can also intervene and enforce the child support order by holding the non-paying parent in contempt and imposing penalties or sanctions.
The child support obligation in Louisiana is determined based on the parent’s share of combined income, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent except uses physical custody of the child(ren).
Although legal custody does not automatically affect child support obligations, the amount of time a parent spends with the child (physical custody) can impact child support calculations. In a shared or joint physical custody arrangement, where the child spends significant time with both parents, the child support obligation may be adjusted based on the percentage of time each parent has with the child. If one parent has the child more often, the other parent may be required to pay more child support.
Child support payments can be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that affects the financial situation of either parent or the needs of the child. Examples of such changes may include a significant increase or decrease in income, a change in the custody arrangement, a change in the child’s needs, or other relevant factors. In order to modify child support, you would need to file a motion with the court and demonstrate the substantial change in circumstances.
Your child support lawyer will need to know your financial situation – your income, tax returns, and paystubs. They will also need to know information about your employment and your employers contact information. Any information about the custody arrangement, and what child related expenses you currently are financially responsible for.
A child support lawyer can provide valuable assistance and guidance throughout the child support process. They can help you understand your rights and obligations, advocate for your rights in negotiations and court, help you accurately determine your child support payment or award, request a modification, and assist in enforcing awards.
Child support is generally not considered taxable income for the recipient. In the United States, child support payments are typically not taxable for the parent who receives them, and they are not deductible for the parent who pays them.
Quitting a job to avoid paying child support is generally not a valid strategy. Courts can impute income to a parent who voluntarily becomes unemployed or underemployed to evade their child support obligations. Imputing income means attributing or assigning an income amount to a parent based on their earning capacity or what they are capable of earning. If it can be proven that a parent intentionally quit their job or took a lower-paying job to avoid paying child support, the court may impute income based on their previous employment history, qualifications, and job market conditions.
Giving up parental rights does not automatically relieve a parent of their child support obligations. In general, courts are hesitant to allow parents to voluntarily terminate their parental rights solely for the purpose of avoiding child support obligations. Courts tend to prioritize the best interests of the child and aim to ensure they receive the financial support they need.
Joint custody does not necessarily mean that neither parent pays child support. Child support is typically based on the combined share of income of both parents and the custody arrangement, among other factors. In many cases, even with joint custody, there may be a disparity in the income between the parents or one parent may have a greater share of parenting time.