Take this Job and Shove It- Will Quitting Your Job Reduce Child Support?

Resignation letter being placed on the desk of the boss

Was the name of a country song about a man who had tired of his employment and decided to move on.  The artist apparently had only one job.  What happens if you have two jobs to make ends meet for your family?

If your wife leaves you, is child supportcalculated based upon your noble decision to put in 60 hours per week so they have everything they need?  In general, the answer is “no”. Louisiana courts do not expect you to sacrifice body and soul to continue to support a family that is no longer intact.  They do, however, expect you to live up to your earning potential.

Will Quitting Your Job Reduce Child Support?

If you are making $200 a week as a self-employed face painter working 50 hours Monday through Saturday, a court is likely to take a dim view of your deciding to work 40 hours at the same job making $160.  Many spouses who have sacrificed to take care of their families find that separation and divorce only add to their economic woes.  They must make the difficult choice between working to maintain the style to which their families have become accustomed and making time to be with their children instead of their jobs.

Talk to your lawyer about these issues.  They may not be legal issues but they are problems that your family lawyer can help you solve, even if he or she cannot make them go away.

Beware of Effect of Overtime Pay on Your Child Support Calculation

Overtime red stamp text on white

Many people in the greater Baton Rouge area work in the plants up and down the river.  They may work directly for Shell or Motiva or they may work for contractors who provide services to larger companies. There are often overtime opportunities in those jobs.

A man or woman can significantly increase his or her income by working more than 40 hours a week and by working on weekends and holidays. Overtime, however, is never a sure thing. One year, you might make $100,000 and the next year, you might make $50,000.  Even regular time is not guaranteed.  No one is safe from a reduction in force or from his employer’s financial failure.

When you talk to your lawyer about child support or about spousal support, tell him how much of your income is due to overtime so he can figure out the effect of overtime on your child support calculation. Also, be sure to let your lawyer know if your job security is at risk due to a change in company ownership, management, or finances.  Remember that your ability to work more than 40 hours a week may change drastically with divorce and shared custody.  Planning ahead for change will help you adjust to what will be a difficult emotional and financial experience.

Calculating Child Support: Tips for Parents in Baton Rouge

Whether you live in Ascension Parish or East Baton Rouge Parish – whether you are a man or a woman – if you are divorcing with children you are worried about child support.  You may have questions about calculating child support. How much will your child support payment be?  If your spouse does not work, will he or she have to share in the expense of raising the children anyway?

Understanding the answers to these questions is a little easier if you remember that whether you make or receive the child support payment, the money is for your children’s benefit.  For that reason, the forms that you and your lawyer will use to calculate the child support include both parents’ incomes, not just the income of the parent who does not have the most custody.

Even if one spouse does not work or has quit her job to avoid paying support, income will be attributed to her based on her work experience and work capacity. Because courts use those forms to calculate what you owe or will receive, it is extremely important that you provide your lawyer with all of the earnings information that he requests as soon as possible.  Providing yourlawyer with complete and accurate information is the key to a fair child support result.

Who’s Your Momma? Child Support for a Child You Did Not Conceive

Child support

The hatchling of Horton and Mayzie the Lazy Bird has nothing on the child born of a surrogate to Sherri Shepherd of The View and Lamar Sally.  According to the August 25, 2014 edition of US, Ms.Shepherd wants nothing to do with the child, a product of Sally’s sperm and a donor egg.  She now believes that Sally tricked her into agreeing to a surrogate birth in order to “collect child support”.

In Louisiana, the lack of a biological or legal relationship between Ms. Shepherd and the child would argue against any child support obligation on her part.  Likewise, it would seem that Ms. Shepherd would have no rights to custody or visitation.  Before you decide to embark upon an arrangement that might expose you to child support for a child you did not conceive, consult with an attorney concerning its legality and its potential long term consequences.

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A Parent’s Obligation When a Child Commits a Crime

teen male portrait wearing handcuffs

The 1956 movie, The Bad Seed, terrified viewers with its contrast between the innocent beauty of childhood and the evil of murder without remorse. Likewise, the August 18, 2014 edition of People reviews a book about a similarly horrifying crime – the stabbing murder by two 16-year-old honor students of their best friend.

What is a parent’s obligation when a child commits a crime?   Can the parent abandon the child to the criminal justice system? In Louisiana, the obligation of a parent to support a minor child is almost unconditional. The child whose parents have refused to support him while he or she is in jail would have a right of action against them for child support. The State acting in its capacity as the custodian might have standing to seek support from the parents of an incarcerated minor. If you have a child who is incorrigible or in jail, seek legal counsel concerning your continued duties of support.

North by West – Understanding Child Support In Louisiana

The Louvre Museum and the labyrinth in Paris city.

North West’s first birthday was lavish according to the July 7, 2014 edition of US Weekly. There were 150 guests at Aunt Kourtney’s $8.5 million mansion in Calabasas, California. There were teepees for hair braiding, there was face painting, there was a ferris wheel and a huge bouncy house. The price tag for the party was not reported but was probably more than many people earn in a lifetime.

Suppose that Kim and Kanye West, North’s parents, divorce?

How do courts decide what amount should be paid as child support when the parents are very wealthy?

In Louisiana, courts may consider many factors including the lifestyle to which the child has become accustomed. A child of rich parents is entitled to more than what it would take to feed, clothe, transport, educate, and provide for the medical needs of a more ordinary youngster. If a child is accustomed to ferris wheels at her birthday parties, trips to Europe on private jets, and mink tennis shoes, a court in Louisiana has the discretion to ensure that those perks continue – provided of course that her parents can still afford them.

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Happy Fathers Day! Child Support Laws in Louisiana

Child support

Halle Berry must pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 per month for the support of their daughter, Nahla, according to the June 23, 2014 edition of People.  The order was rendered by a California judge in Los Angeles.

In Louisiana, such high awards of support are the exception, not the rule.  However, Louisiana parents who earn large amounts of money can expect to pay proportionately high child support.

Regardless of the relative wealth or poverty of divorcing or separating parents, the objective ofsupport awards is to ensure that children do not suffer unduly from their parents’ decision to dissolve their economic relationship.  Sometimes this means that very large sums of money are placed in the hands of parents who may not use it for their child’s benefit.

If you are the bread winner, you may want to speak with your lawyer about what means are available to ensure that the money you pay for your child’s support is spent only for that purpose.

Patient Heal Thyself – Health Care in Louisiana Affects Child Support

Boy using inhaler – respiratory system illness

This past legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers expressed concerns over the potential insolvency of the Office of Group Benefits’ reserve account for health insurance benefits for state workers, retirees, and their families was reported in the Advocate, May 22, 2014.

Increasing the cost to employees and retirees is one option that could improve the fund’s health as is reducing certain benefits.  In Louisiana, your child support obligation includes the payment of your share of the child’s health care.  If there is health insurance, your share is a pro-rated portion of the health insurance premium.  Be aware that if the cost of the child’s health insurance increases or the child’s insured benefits decrease, your support obligation may go up.

The high cost of health insurance is something that you should discuss with your lawyer as you get close to the date on which your support obligations will be determined.

When Johnny Can’t Earn a Living – When Does Louisiana Child Support End?

A high school diploma and mortarboard for this students achievements.

Young people often graduate from high school without skills that enable them to earn a living. Although they have reached the “age of majority” at 18, they are adults in name only.

In Louisiana, your obligation for child support terminates when your child reaches 18 years of age (unless she is still in high school but not yet 19).  However, although your legal obligation may terminate, it is often in your best interest to continue to contribute to her education.

Community colleges, such as the River Parishes Community College in Ascension Parish, scheduled to open August 18, 2014, provide good value for your tuition dollar. Young adults can learn job skills that will help them leave the nest with a place to go.  A child with a good job will provide a better return to you financially than the money you might save by terminating all support.