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.

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.

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.

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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.


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


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Florida Child Support Regulations

Each state has different rules when it comes to child support, but Florida allocates the support amount between parents based on each parent’s share of the spouses’ combined income. This model of determining child support, called the income shares model, is based on the idea that children should receive the same financial support during the divorce process, and once the divorce is finalized, as they received when their parents were still married.

Children on Social Security & Child Support in New Jersey

When a divorce involves children, the court typically has to address the issue of child support. In a child support arrangement, the parent who has custody receives a regular payment from the noncustodial parent. The amount of the payment depends on many different factors, which can vary according to state law. In New Jersey, the earnings of both parents are included in the calculation for child support; however, "means-tested" public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, are not included.

Texas Child Support Questions

Child support is the financial assistance paid by one parent to the parent with primary custody of the children after the parents divorce or separate. The Texas Family Code outlines how child support is calculated, when an order can be modified and when the support order terminates. The law also sets forth the procedures for enforcing a support order that goes unpaid.

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