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How exactly is child support determined in Louisiana?

During the process of divorce, one of the common areas of contention for couples with children is child support. If your future ex will be the noncustodial parent, he or she might be worried about having to pay a support amount that is unreasonably high. On the contrary, you understandably may be concerned about whether he or she will pay enough.

Fortunately, in the state of Louisiana, child support amounts are determined based on certain established guidelines. If your divorce proceeding involves the awarding of child support, it is important to work with an attorney to make sure that all income is properly taken into consideration when the guidelines are being used.

Factors considered in Louisiana when calculating child support obligations

According to Louisiana state law, a court will deduct from the non-custodial parent's gross income the amount of a pre-existing court order for support. Any net child care expenses accrued because of your or your co-parent's job search or employment can be added to a basic support obligation, although the federal child care tax credit's value must be subtracted from these child care costs.

If you or your co-parent is carrying health insurance for your children, the cost of this coverage is also added to the child support obligation. Furthermore, a provision can be made for any extraordinary child expenses, such as those associated with private schooling or medical needs, based on a court order or on the parents' agreement.

The income of both parties is another important factor the court will examine when determining a child support amount. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions and bonuses along with pensions, severance pay, unemployment insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, workers' compensation benefits and disability insurance benefits. Also included as income are capital gains, interest, annuities and trust income.

How are child support orders enforced in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, the payment of child support can be enforced in various ways, including through the interception of federal and state tax refunds, income assignment, the interception of any lottery winnings, the suspension of drivers' licenses and even passport denials.

A knowledgeable divorce attorney will walk you through the child support calculation process in Louisiana and will work hard to ensure that all of your co-parent's income is reported. With legal guidance, you can rest assured that the court will receive an accurate picture of your unique situation so that the support amount you are ultimately awarded is appropriate based on your circumstances.

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