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What should you know about child support in Louisiana?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Family Law |

Louisiana follows an income shares model to determine child support. This approach bases a child support calculation on the combined income of both parents, meaning that the financial responsibility is shared in proportion to each parent’s income.

The primary goal is to mimic the financial support the child would have received if the parents remained together so the child’s standard of living remains as close to what they’re accustomed to as possible. Louisiana’s child support guidelines are designed to be fair and equitable by considering both parents’ financial abilities and the child’s needs.

Income and financial resources

One of the primary factors in determining child support in Louisiana is both parents’ income and financial resources. This includes wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, dividends, pension and retirement benefits and income from rental properties.

The courts will assess the gross income of both parents to establish a baseline for support calculations. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may determine potential income based on employment history, qualifications and possible job opportunities.

Needs of the child

The child’s specific needs play a crucial role in determining the amount of support. This encompasses educational expenses, health care, childcare expenses and any special needs the child may have. Louisiana’s guidelines cover these basic and additional needs to ensure that the child doesn’t experience a significant drop in their standard of living.

Custody arrangements

In Louisiana, the child’s time with each parent can influence the support calculation. For example, if one parent has sole custody, the non-custodial parent typically pays more child support than they would in a shared custody arrangement. This is because the custodial parent bears more of the child’s day-to-day expenses.

Health insurance and medical expenses

Health insurance and medical expenses are also considered in the child support calculation. The court will look at which parent has access to affordable health insurance for the child and how medical expenses, not covered by insurance, should be divided. This ensures that the child’s healthcare needs are met without placing an undue burden on either parent.

Given all that is at stake, parents should ensure that they understand their responsibilities when it comes to child support. Working with a legal representative may make it easier to exercise one’s rights and remain compliant with one’s obligations as children grow.