How Does Louisiana's Child Support System Work?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When parents divorce, children may suffer financially from the decreased household income level. Child support orders are given to help ensure that both parents are supporting the children financially, even when only one parent has custody of the children. In Louisiana, as in other states, child support guidelines help determine the amount to be paid, and the state can help a custodial parent obtain payments.

When parents divorce, children may suffer financially from the decreased household income level. Child support orders are given to help ensure that both parents are supporting the children financially, even when only one parent has custody of the children. In Louisiana, as in other states, child support guidelines help determine the amount to be paid, and the state can help a custodial parent obtain payments.

Child Support Guidelines

Louisiana has established child support award guidelines based on the incomes of both parents. These guidelines are based on the estimated costs of raising a child at various income levels, taking into account the number of children in the household. The non-custodial parent is required to pay an amount based on his percentage of the combined incomes and the specific needs and expenses of the child. Child support orders can include each parent’s portion of medical insurance, medical costs not covered by insurance, private school tuition and extracurricular activities.

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Deviating from Guidelines

In cases of joint custody, a Louisiana court considers the amount of time the child spends with each parent as a basis for adjustments made to the amount of child support paid. Louisiana allows the court to deviate from the guidelines if the application of the guidelines to a particular case would not be in the best interests of the child or would be inequitable to the parents.

Modifying Louisiana Child Support Orders

If a parent can prove that a material change in his circumstances occurred after a child support order was issued, the parent can ask the court to modify the existing child support order. For example, if the noncustodial parent becomes severely disabled and cannot work, the court could modify the child support order based on his new, lower income.

Department of Children and Family Services

Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services offers child support assistance services, including collection and distribution of child support payments. When a non-custodial parent’s child support payments are withheld from his paycheck as specified in the child support order, DCFS collects those payments and sends them to the custodial parent. DCFS can help a custodial parent find the non-custodial parent and establish paternity, if necessary. DCFS also offers assistance in obtaining and enforcing a child support order.

Enforcement

Non-custodial parents who do not pay their required child support may face significant penalties. In Louisiana, enforcement efforts may include income assignment, seizure of federal or state tax refunds or lottery winnings, and suspension of professional licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, driver’s licenses, motor vehicle registrations and passports. A parent who is behind on child support payments can also be punished for contempt of court for not following a court order.

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Child Support Laws in Georgia

References

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South Carolina Child Support Laws

Like other states, South Carolina has laws that direct how child support is established and enforced when parents split up, including how paternity is established. As long as the custodial parent lives in South Carolina, South Carolina’s laws and helping agencies can be used, even if the noncustodial parent lives in another state. Many of South Carolina’s child support laws and procedures are similar to those of other states.

New Jersey Child Support Questions

In New Jersey, as in other states, when a child lives with a parent after divorce that parent does not bear the financial burden of supporting the child alone. Instead, state law requires that the other, non-custodial, parent pay a fair share of the child's expenses. This is known as child support -- and it is calculated according to a specific formula.

Wisconsin Child Support Laws for Multiple Children

Parents have the legal responsibility to provide financial support for their children, regardless of whether they live under the same roof or not. Under Wisconsin law, courts use state guidelines to calculate child support obligations for the noncustodial parent, and these guidelines include changes to the amount of support based on the number of children the noncustodial parent is supporting.

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