The laws governing child support in Louisiana are different from that of other states. LA child support law sets how much the child maintenance should be, and the duration of such payments, plus it seeks to guide parents in exceptional cases such as deviation, support for disabled children, and retroactive support.
As you may already know, child support (or child maintenance) is a continuous monetary payment made by a spouse to another spouse, guardian, caregiver, or the state for the upkeep of children after a divorce or separation.
The person who is required to pay child support is referred to as the “obligor,” whereas the person who is eligible to receive child maintenance is referred to as the “obligee.”
What are LA Child Support Laws?
A child support award in Louisiana will be based on the number of children involved, the combined income of both parents, and the custody arrangement between the parents. A child support calculator is available in Louisiana to assist parents in calculating their responsibilities.
In shared or split custody agreements or where the paying parent has a handicap that affects earning potential, payments may be less than the recommended amount. Similarly, if it would be in the kid’s best interest, a court may in some cases raise child support. One instance is how some judges changed support payments for families who had been disproportionately affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The child support schedule, which specifies a suggested support amount depending on the number of children and the income levels of the parents, can be used to determine your portion of the financial burden.
What does Child Support Cover in Louisiana?
The costs of a child’s daily life are covered by child support. Expenses for the child’s health insurance, school fees, camp, sports, music, or dance lessons may also be included. Who is eligible for child support? A parent with physical custody of a kid, whether they are married, single, or divorced, may get child support.
Child Support When One Parent Lives Outside Louisiana
To enforce child support orders beyond state boundaries, each state has to have the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) in place. Louisiana is no exception.
The UIFSA ensures that child support processes and procedures are consistent across states. When one spouse lives in another state where the Louisiana courts do not have authority to adjudicate or enforce orders, UIFSA reduces these bottlenecks.
As a result of the UIFSA, a LA child support attorney can take legal action against a spouse who now lives in another state to enforce a child support order.
How is Child Maintenance Calculated In Louisiana?
The income shares model is used in Louisiana to determine child support obligations. Payments are based on the parents’ combined income as well as the number of qualifying children. Usually, higher payments result from more children or a higher combined income.
The proportion of each parent’s income that is transferred also affects the transfer amounts. Non-custodial parents with significant salaries are Louisianians who pay the greatest support. The biggest beneficiaries are parents with primary physical custody who are also low-income and high-earning payot.
Louisiana doesn’t have a clear procedure for adjusting child support payments for the precise amount of parenting time each parent provides. As is customary with income sharing arrangements, the rules do not include a specific description of the parent’s portion of childcare time.
A table is used to determine the fundamental child support obligation in Louisiana. The chart is made available online by Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services. The table can appear to be fairly simple. But you must be aware of how much “combined adjusted monthly gross income” there is. You must first calculate your monthly gross revenue in order to do it.
Gross Income Included in Calculating Child Maintenance
For child support calculation purposes, gross income includes:
- all wages and salary, including commissions, military pay, tips, overtime, and bonuses
- self-employment income
- interest and dividends
- net rental income from property the parent owns
Even jobless parents are likely to have some sources of income, like:
- severance pay
- unemployment benefits
- retirement benefits
- veterans’ benefits
- disability benefits, or
- workers’ compensation awards.
A LA family court judge may also allocate an income value to parents who do not currently have income-earning employment (like a second house). If a jobless parent inherits assets that can be sold, for instance, the judge may include the property’s market value as a part of such parent’s income.
Where parents willfully go unemployed or underemployed in order to avoid paying child support, judges may infer (assign) income based on what they are supposed to be earning.
Net Income for LA Guidelines
Remove the following costs from the total gross income to get the parent’s net income for paying child support in Louisiana:
- Social Security taxes, or any mandated retirement plan contributions if the parent does not pay those taxes.
- Income taxes, both federal and state (based on the tax rate for a single person claiming one exemption)
- union dues
- The LA court has ruled the parent to pay the child’s health and dental insurance premiums, as well as additional medical bills.
Parents who have already paid child support for another kid or children (from a previous relationship) may be eligible for a refund.
Louisiana Child Support Calculator and Worksheet
While a child support calculator can be used to estimate child support, it is not a guarantee of the final amount of child maintenance that the judge will order. A child support worksheet is a form used by the LA courts (or negotiating spouses) to approximate the basic child support obligation of the parents.
Regardless of which approach you use, spouses can decide on a child support sum and amend the worksheet accordingly to ensure it accurately reflects their agreement. Both establish a presumption duty to pay child support.
The final decision on the amount of child support is made by the administrative law judge, administrator, or court.
Is Medical Health Insurance Part of Child Support in Louisiana?
Yes, in addition to the amount of support determined by the guidelines in Louisiana, the parents will be responsible for the child’s health and dental insurance.
Whereas the noncustodial parent is presumed to provide coverage, this can readily be transferred to the other parent if it makes good sense.
For instance, suppose the custodial parent’s employer offers healthcare insurance for the dependent but the noncustodial parent does not.
Factors Louisiana Courts Consider Before Ordering Maintenance
The following factors must be considered by the court when determining whether Louisiana Family Code applies:
- The age of the child and needs; the parents’ ability to assist
- Financial resources available to the child
- For a set period of time, you have custody and access to a child.
- An increase or decrease in the obligee’s earnings or income due to the obligee’s property and assets
- Child care expenses incurred by either parent in order to keep a job
- any other children under the care of either party
- Any other children under the care of either party
- What kind of alimony or spousal maintenance is being paid or received;
- Obligor or obligee receives an automobile, house, or other benefits from his or her employer or business entity.
- The parties or the child’s special education, health-care, or other expenses
- The cost of traveling to obtain custody of and access to a child.
- Cash flow from any estate and assets, including real estate, personal property, and business property, can be positive or negative.
How to Challenge or Modify Child Support Order
If your situation has changed, you may be able to modify your order. CSE will conduct a review before the agency may submit a change request. During the evaluation, CSE will confirm the work status, income, and any other details pertinent to your situation for both the custodial and non-custodial parents.
Only if the review reveals one (or more) of the following to be true will your child support order be eligible for modification:
- The last time the order was formed or updated was over three years ago;
- Child support rules provide that the monthly amount of the child support order varies by at least 25%; or
- Since the last time the child support order was established, a material and significant change in circumstances has taken place.
Steps to Collect Child Support in Louisiana
Getting a child support order in place is only half the struggle in Louisiana. You’ll also have to collect the money itself. A noncustodial parent is responsible for paying the full amount of child maintenance per month as imposed by the court. Here are the steps for getting child support in LA
1. Open a Child Support Case
Complete a child support application with your local child support agency/office
2. Locate the Other Parent
To begin the child maintenance procedure in LA, the child support services (CSS) office will use the information provided by the applying parent, as well as information gathered from other sources, to try to locate the other parent.
3. Establish Parentage
It’s critical to establish a legitimate relationship with the child when the other parent has been located. The state will assist you in locating the sufficient means. Parents can choose to acknowledge their parentage voluntarily or organize a genetic screening.
4. Establish a Child Support Order
A Louisiana child support order specifies how much the other parent should pay and includes details such as the payment schedule and provisions for the child’s health insurance.
5. Set Up Payment
Deducting child maintenance from a parent’s paycheck and transferring the money to the other parent or guardian is the most typical method of payment. It’s a simple way to make and track child support payments.
6. Enforce the Support Order
Your LA child support services will enforce the child support order if the noncustodial parent does not pay the full amount or does not pay any. Exposing overdue child support payments to credit bureaus, intercepting income tax refunds, and Withholding child maintenance from unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits are examples of other enforcement measures.
7. Review the Order
Three years after the order is issued, either parent can request their local child support office to revise it. They can ask for a reassessment sooner than three years if a parent’s situation has changed significantly, such as loss of employment or imprisonment.
Louisiana Child Support Services Office, Number and Login Portal
Louisiana Child Support Enforcement Agency
Address: 5825 Florida Blvd,
Baton Rouge, LA 70806,
Phone: +1 800-256-4650
Retroactive Child Support Arrears
The consequences of not paying child support orders in Louisiana can be very dire.
First-time offenders face a maximum $500 fine, a maximum 6-month jail sentence, or both.
Second or subsequent offenses carry a maximum $2,500 fine, a maximum 2-year sentence that may include hard labor or both.
*At the time of sentence, the total amount of outstanding support obligations must be taken into account when determining the amount of restitution to be ordered.
*The court may defer all or any part of the imposition or execution of the sentence otherwise required by this Subsection where restitution is made before the time of sentencing, with the exception of a second or subsequent offense.
*If the past-due balance exceeds $15,000 and the debt has been unpaid for at least a year, the offender faces a fine of up to $25,000, up to two years in jail with or without hard labor, or both.
In order to enforce retroactive child support payments in LA, the custodial parent should do the following:
You can submit a petition to the Child Support Enforcement Office (CSE). performs a number of crucial tasks related to child support enforcement. An administrative (non-judicial) procedure is employed to:
- locate your missing parents
- By having unmarried spouses sign legal paperwork or submit to genetic testing, prove the parentage (paternity) of children born to them.
- determine and alter obligations for child and medical support, and
- enforce the requirements for child and medical support.
If you feel the arrears are being demanded wrongly, you can learn how to get child support arrears dismissed HERE.
How to Pay Child Maintenance in Louisiana
In Louisiana, parents can pay child maintenance in a variety of ways, as long as your order doesn’t state otherwise:
- by debit or credit card,
- bank transfer
- direct deposit
- income withholding, or
- auto-draft from a bank account.
When Does Child Support End in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the typical cutoff point for child support payments is when the kid turns 18. However, there are significant exceptions to this rule.
Your child who is 18 is still receiving child support if:
- He or she is enrolled “full-time” and in “good standing” at a “secondary school.” Secondary education mainly refers to post-elementary education. Trade and vocational schools are part of it.
- He or she has a clean record (which means the child is making good grades.)
- If your child graduates after turning 18 but before turning 19, your need to pay support ends on that day.
- Whether or not your child is enrolled in school, after they turn 19, you are no longer required to provide for them.
Your 18-year-old receives child support through age 22 if:
- He or she suffers from a “developmental disability”, as defined in R.S. 28:451.2, until he attains the age of twenty-two.
- If a child has a “developmental disability”, support ends at age twenty-two.
Your 18-year-old continues to receive child support indefinitely if:
- He or she developed a mental or physical disability before the age of 18.
- He or she is unable to support himself due to the severity of the handicap.
- He or she needs close attention and intensive care.
- Notably, substance misuse and addiction are not included in the definition of “disability.”
- Your need to pay child support can last forever if you have a child who has a severe impairment.
How Does LA Child Support Work if one Parent Has no Job?
If it is determined that a parent cannot work because of a significant illness or accident, for example, child support may be reduced or even terminated.
A determination of the parent’s potential for earning income may be used to determine child support if the parent is discovered to be unemployed or underemployed voluntarily or of his or her own free will. In essence, the court may make an educated guess as to how much that parent would earn if they were working full-time.
The past experience, education, and earning potential of the unemployed parent are frequently assessed, along with research into what people in their field make in Louisiana. This process of “imputing income” is how child support obligations for that party are frequently calculated.
Is Child Support Tax Deductible in Louisiana?
NO. In Louisiana, child support payments are neither taxable to the recipient nor tax-deductible by the payer as stated by the IRS. Don’t include child support payments when calculating your gross income to see whether you have to file a tax return.
However, either parent may be eligible for a dependency exemption per child. If the parents can’t agree on who receives the exemption, the judge will set out the terms in a court order.
Getting a Skilled Louisiana Child Support Attorney
If you are involved in a family law matter in Louisiana, you may have a lot more questions than answers at this moment. You are not alone; Correspondence with members has shown that using the services of specialized child support attorneys saves a lot of hassles and most importantly, ensures you come out as a winner for you and your kid.
If you need to fight your child maintenance cause in LA with confidence, then you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
Luckily, we have compiled a database of these expert child support lawyers and made them available for the convenience of our members. You can reach them at the click of a button for legal advice and representation on child maintenance.
- Louisiana Child Adoption Guidelines
- Louisiana Childcare Guidelines
- Louisiana Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Louisiana Child Support Guidelines
- Louisiana Divorce Guidelines
- Louisiana Marital Property Guidelines
- Louisiana Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Louisiana Child Support Payment History
- Louisiana Child Support Calculator
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