The question of child support typically arises when one goes through the divorce process and one parent has to pay a stipulated amount of compensation to the other parent towards help in upbringing the child. In Louisiana specifically, the child support laws and guidelines state that the obligation to pay support depends upon the actual available resources of each parent and the necessities of the child.
The basic premise of the Louisiana child support guidelines is that child support is presented as a continuing obligation of both the parents. Children should not have to suffer any hardships or be economic victims as a result of the parents being divorced or separated.
Child Support Obligations
Child support is generally impacted by the custody arrangements of the parents. Parents get divided into the categories of “custodial” and “non-custodial” parents. The custodial parent is someone who has acquired the primary and physical custody of the child. It falls upon the non-custodial parent who has the child for less than 50 percent of the time, to pay child support to the custodial parent. It is not that the custodial parent is exempt from any kind of financial support but the law assumes that the required amount is being directly spent on the child.
Louisiana child support includes everyday living expenses for the child. Apart from that, other expenses such as school tuition, school-sponsored extracurricular activities, camps, and dance, music, or art lessons can also be added to the child support order.
Income Share Model In Louisiana
Louisiana child support is calculated following the income share approach to determine the payments for child support. Under this method, the court uses the gross income of the parents to calculate the child support. The income of each parent, the number of children, and the requirements of the child are factored in while deciding the estimated amount. An estimated amount is calculated and divided proportionally and then the child support worksheet is used to decide the specifications.
Louisiana Child Support Guideline provisions are contained in the statute, Louisiana Revised Statute 9:315.
The court has to take into consideration, certain factors which can affect the child support arrangements. For example, a parent might already be paying child support for a child (or multiple children) from a previous relationship. This can severely affect his or her ability to pay the full amount required. The court has the power to thus modify the order to take into account the parent’s ability. Deviations from the existing child support order also happen when a parent may lose their job or suffer from a disability of the permanent kind or has excessive debt. Special expenses like childcare costs and extraordinary medical expenses may also be included.
Louisiana child support duty is carried out irrespective of sex, meaning a mother can pay support to a father and vice versa. Louisiana child support aims to facilitate the upbringing of the child and provide the same or similar amount of support that would have been available if it were an intact family setup.