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How does Louisiana make child support awards consistent and fair?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Firm News

How much will you pay in child support? That can be a sensitive topic. One way that Louisiana attempts to keep child support awards consistent and fair is through the use of statutory child support guidelines.

Louisiana has statutory guidelines for calculating child support. These guidelines ensure that both parents are responsible for providing equal financial support for their child. The guidelines also recognize that children should not suffer financially because of their parent’s divorce.

Part of calculating child support is determining each parent’s gross income. Louisiana statutes outline what does and does not count as gross income.

Child support and gross income

To calculate child support, the state will look at both parent’s gross income. Gross income includes all income earned, including salary, hourly wages, commissions, bonuses, interest earned on financial accounts, workers’ compensation benefits and a variety of other funds that were earned.

However, not all funds count toward gross income for the purpose of calculating child support. Child support for other children, supplemental security income and food stamps are some examples of financial benefits that are not included in the calculation of gross income.

Deviating from child support guidelines

In addition, it is possible in some cases to deviate from statutory child support guidelines, including gross income calculations. Any deviation must be in the best interests of the child.

For example, courts may take into consideration extraordinary factors that could impact gross income, such as medical expenses and whether a parent is permanently or temporarily totally disabled.

There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support calculated per statutory guidelines is appropriate. So, if you want to deviate from these guidelines, it is up to you to prove why the guidelines should not be followed.