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We share custody of our kids. How does this affect child support?

Like many other Louisiana couples, you and your co- parent made the decision to continue to raise your children together despite the fact that your relationship ended. You both agreed to share custody in order to allow the children as much access to each parent as possible.

Now, the issue of child support comes up, and you need to know how this custody arrangement will affect it.

How does the court calculate child support in our situation?

Before going any further, be sure your arrangement meets the statutory definition of "shared custody," which means that each parent has nearly equal time with the children. If you meet that criterion, child support is calculated as follows:

  1. The basic obligation is multiplied by 1.5.
  2. The court then divides the amount between the parents based on the adjusted gross income of each of them.
  3. At this point, each parent receives a theoretical amount of support to pay to the other parent.
  4. The court then multiplies each amount by the actual percentage of time the children spends with the other parent.
  5. Any extraordinary adjustments and the net childcare costs related to work are added to each amount.
  6. Direct payments for such childcare, medical costs or health insurance premiums, along with any other out of the ordinary expenses are deducted from the amount in number 3.
  7. The court will order the parent whose share is more than the other parent's share to pay the difference between the two amounts to the parent whose share is less.

Each parent shall pay ordinary medical expenses under $250 that health insurance does not cover, such as copays, in accordance with the percentage established herein.

How can I figure this out?

This formula can be complex and frustrating to try to figure out on your own. Your attorney should be able to provide you with the real numbers that go into this formula.

Furthermore, agreeing on "extraordinary" expenses of any kind can sometimes be problematic. Additional negotiations might be necessary to define those costs in your parenting plan so there is no confusion or confrontation regarding such expenses going forward.

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