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Louisiana Child Support
Child Support in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the gross income of the parents is used in the calculation of child support based on the Income Shares model. The routine applies a percentage to the gross income of both parents and the number of child requiring support.

The Income Shares Model estimates the amount of support that would have been available if the marriage had not failed. This estimated amount is then divided proportionally to the parents according to each parent's income. It is easy to do this using the Louisiana child support worksheet. Pay records typically substantiate the estimated incomes.

If the noncustodial parent has a higher income than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the greater portion of the child support obligation; conversely, if the noncustodial parent has a lower income than the custodial, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the smaller portion of the child support obligation.

Both parents are obligated to support any children of a marriage. The factors for consideration listed in the statute are:

  • the needs of the child and
  • the actual resources of each parent.

Louisiana Child Support Guideline provisions are contained in the statute, Louisiana Revised Statute 9:315.

Parents exchange past and present income information that includes the most recent income tax return. Louisiana Statute 9:315.14 includes a table showing the total child support, based on the incomes of both parents, and each parent's share at that income level. The noncustodial parent pays his or her share of the amount shown.

In Louisiana one of the parents may be ordered to either purchase medical insurance for the children or enroll them in an existing plan. The court considers the parents work history in determining medical coverage for the children.

Calculate Louisiana Child Support

Other Expenses and Deductions

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Childcare and extraordinary medical expenses are considered mandatory deductions.

By agreement of the parties or order of the court, the following expenses incurred on behalf of the child may be added to the basic child support obligation:

  • expenses of tuition, registration, books, and supply fees required for attending a special or private elementary or secondary school to meet the needs of the child;
  • any expenses for transportation of the child from one party to the other;
  • special expenses incurred for child rearing intended to enhance the health, athletic, social, or cultural development of a child, including but not limited to camp, music or art lessons, travel, and school sponsored extracurricular activities.

Child Support Enforcement

A parent is delinquent when he or she fails to pay support for six months or longer. His or her name will be placed on a Delinquent Payors "Most Wanted" Poster after the Department of Social Services exhausts all efforts to collect payment, including tax intercepts.

Support Enforcement Services (SES) is funded by the state and federal governments and is run by the Office of Family Support in Louisiana's Department of Social Services. SES is authorized to enforce child support orders and collect back support.

When a parent does not pay child support, SES can have his or her state licenses suspended and ask the U.S. State Department to revoke his or her passport.

In addition to the non-monetary penalties, SES also has methods in place to collect the back support. First, SES will issue an income withholding order to the parent's employer. This order requires the employer to deduct child support from the parent's paycheck and submit the withheld amount to the custodial parent. In addition, this order can also be used to seize unemployment benefits and workers' compensation payments.

Next, SES may seize the parent's tax refunds and he or she may forfeit any lottery winnings. A lien can be filed against any of the parent's property. The court may attach the proceeds from any sale to satisfy the support obligation. Lastly, a parent can be held in contempt and fined and/or jailed for failure to pay support.

More information about Louisiana Child Support Enforcement can be found at their website.

Emancipation

Child support must be paid until the child is 18 years old. According to Louisiana Revised Statute 9:309(C), if the child is enrolled in college, is not married and is still the custodial parent's dependant, a court can require child support to continue beyond age 18. Additionally, if a child is disabled, support can be required until the child is age 22.

Deviation Factors

The court may deviate or make adjustments to the sum calculated by the Income Shares Model when the combined gross income is exceptionally low or high, one or both parents is already paying child support for children from previous relationships, the child has special medical or educational needs, one party has excessive debt, or the noncustodial parent is or becomes disabled.

The child support guidelines are presumed to be correct, unless one of the following factors make them unjust or not in the best interests of the child:

  • extraordinary medical expenses of the child or parent responsible for support payments;
  • the permanent or temporary total disability of the parent responsible for support;
  • the need for immediate or temporary support;
  • an extraordinary community debt of the parents;
  • the combined income of the parents is less than that in the guideline charts; and
  • any other relevant consideration.

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