Louisiana courts use the Guidelines for Determination of Child Support to arrive at the amount of child support you will receive or must pay. The “basic child support obligation” is calculated in all cases by using tables that consider the monthly gross income of each party.Additional costs that the parties pay for Childcare, Health Insurance Premiums, and Extraordinary Medical Expenses are then added to the basic support obligation. In some cases, other “Extraordinary Expenses” — expenses such as education expenses, transportation expenses and expenses intended to enhance the health, athletic, social, or cultural development of a child — can also be added if the court finds these expenses reasonable and necessary considering the income of the parties.
Since income is the most important factor in determining child support, you should try to gather this information before consulting with your attorney. Make copies of the last 3 tax returns that both parents have filed. Bring that information up to date by making copies of each parent’s recent paycheck stubs. Gather cancelled checks or receipts to show how much you pay for your children’s health insurance, childcare, and extraordinary medical expenses. With this information, a competent family lawyer should be able to tell you, at your first meeting with him or her, the approximate amount that you will be able to receive or that you will be required to pay for child support.
Parents who try to avoid their support obligation, frequently quit their jobs thinking that if they are unemployed they will not be required to pay child support, or that the support that the court orders will be lower because they are not working. Such thinking is legally wrong. Courts in Louisiana have the authority to “impute” income to the parties. If a parent has an established history of earning $30,000 a year and is currently unemployed, the court will find that the parent is capable of earning that amount, and that amount will be used to calculate the support obligation. It’s up to that parent to find employment. In Louisiana, the welfare of children is paramount.
Louisiana does not discriminate against children who are born out of wedlock. The law on child support is the same whether parents are married or not.
At the Cosenza Law Firm we are concerned about the economic welfare of our clients and the best interests of their children. Know what your options are before you decide to take the next step. Call our law firm today at 225-647-6644 or send an email to arrange a consultation at our Baton Rouge or Gonzales law offices.