Child Support is considered a payment that a noncustodial parent makes as a contribution to the costs of raising his or her child. In Louisiana, a child has the right to be financially supported by both of his parents. Support can be provided for basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, transportation and education. Support can also cover the child's medical needs as well as any day care costs when parents go to work or school.
2. Who can ask for Child Support?
Generally, either parent can go to court and ask for a Child Support Order to establish a set amount for Child Support. Also, a person who has custody of a child, such as a grandparent, can ask for an order. Finally, if either parent receives public assistance for the child and they are not married and living together, the local attorney's office can request a Child Support Order.
3. How do I establish and enforce a Child Support Order?
In Louisiana, Child Support Orders are established by Louisiana Support Enforcement Services. To find more information please click here. Enforcement can be completed in a variety of ways including interception of tax refunds and suspension of motor vehicle registration if necessary. Louisiana Support Enforcement services can also provide assistance by locating a parent and/or providing paternity testing.
4. How is Child Support determined?
In Louisiana, Child Support is determined by a number of factors such as income, the cost of child care and health insurance, and the number of children in the household. Some things to consider are:
The amount of any preexisting court order for child support and spousal support paid is deducted from the gross income of the non-custodial parent.
Net child care costs incurred due to employment or job search (minus the value of the federal tax credit for child care) is added to the basic obligation.
If either parent carries health insurance for the child(ren) due support, the cost of that coverage is added to the basic child support obligation.
A provision may also be made for extraordinary expenses of a child, such as medical or special or private schooling needs, by agreement of the parties or order of the court.
5. What if I want to increase or decrease a Child Support Order?
Generally, a Child Support Order cannot be modified unless the party seeking to reduce or increase the order shows a material change in the circumstances since the order was granted. An example of a material change could be if a parent lost their job or if child care expenses increased significantly. If necessary, a court hearing will take place to determine if the increase or decrease can be awarded.
6. Can a parent withhold visitation when the other parent refuses to pay Child Support?
A parent cannot deny visitation because the other parent refuses to pay or is unable to pay child support. Likewise, a parent cannot refuse to pay child support because the other parent will not permit visitation or because they have not been able to visit for other reasons.