Parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. When both parents aren't together and living in the same household, a child support order is typically used to ensure that parents meet their financial obligations. How child support is determined and what can make the amount change are important things to understand. Read on to learn about child support guidelines in Louisiana.
Louisiana Child Support Guidelines History
Child support laws are determined at the state level but influenced by federal laws. The Family Support Act of 1988 gave the states unlimited authority to come up with their individual child support guidelines, which are used to determine the amount of support. The amounts can be rebutted only if their application would be inappropriate or unjust. Under Louisiana law, the obligation will depend on the actual resources of each parent combined with the needs of the child.
Louisiana Child Support Guidelines at a Glance
Although legal research begins with reading the relevant statutes, the legal jargon involved can make it a daunting task. Reading a condensed version of the content devoid of legalese helps to clarify the law. Consult the chart below for key takeaways about Louisiana's child support guidelines.
Louisiana Revised Statutes:
- Section 9:315.1(deviation from guidelines by court)
- Section 9:315.2 (calculation of basic obligation)
- Section 9:315.3 (child care costs; addition to basic obligation)
- Section 9:315.4 (health insurance premiums; addition to basic obligation)
- Section 9:315.5 (extraordinary medical expenses; addition to basic obligation)
- Section 9:315.6 (other extraordinary expenses; addition to basic obligation)
- Section 9:315.7 (deductions for income of the child)
- Section 9:315.8 (calculation of total child support obligation; worksheet)
- Section 9:315.16 (review of guidelines)
- Section 9:315.18 (schedule information)
- Section 9:315.19 (schedule for support)
- Section 9:315.20 (worksheets)
- Section 9:315.1.1 (determination of income; evidence)
Length of time parent must pay support
Under Louisiana law, both parents must financially support the child until the child reaches 18, but the support may continue if (Section 9:315.22):
- The child is a full-time student in secondary school or equivalent;
- Hasn't reached 19; and
- Is dependent upon either parent.
Income Shares Model
Louisiana uses the "income shares model" to calculate child support obligations. The income shares model is based on the amount of support that would be available to the child if the parents were together and living in the same household (Section 9:315).
This amount is estimated and then divided proportionally using each parent's income; the specific calculations are made using the child support worksheet.
The Child Support Obligation
Custodial and Noncustodial Parents:
- If the noncustodial parent has a higher income than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent would be responsible for the greater portion of the child support obligation (Section 9:315.8).
- 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 (Section 9:315.8).
- Although Louisiana presumes that joint custody is in the best interests of the child, the child support guidelines don't make many allowances for joint custody (Section 9:315.8).
- The court may consider the time spent by the child with the noncustodial parent as a basis for adjustment to the amount of child support to be paid during that time and may include the continuing expenses of the custodial parent (Section 9:315.8).
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Louisiana Child Support Guidelines
Get Information about Louisiana Child Support Guidelines from an Attorney
Understanding Louisiana's child support guidelines are important because they affect the child support obligation for your child. Get more information about guidelines and other support issues from an experienced Louisiana child support attorney near you.