Louisiana uses a formula to calculate child support. For the most part, it makes for a fairly clear expectation for what each parent should expect to pay.
However, since it does take into account many factors, getting to the end calculation is not necessarily simple.
And even with clear guidelines for how child support is calculated in Louisiana, you’ll probably want to hire a family law attorney who can protect your interests in child support cases.
Whether you’re trying to ensure you get the custody arrangement you want, or limit the overall amount of child support you have to pay out, an experienced attorney like our team at Stanley-Wallace Law can help.
Calculating child support in Louisiana
There are two basic structures for how Louisiana calculates child support.
One calculation is used when parents have joint custody of the child or children. This first calculation also is used in cases where both parents have custody but one parent is the designated domiciliary parent.
The second calculation is for situations where parents have shared custody. In these scenarios, both parents have approximately the same amount of time with the child.
Regardless of the formula used, here’s what you’ll need to calculate child support in Louisiana.
- You and the other parent’s gross income – this includes, among other things:
- before-tax salary and wages
- dividends and interest income
- commissions and bonuses
- pensions or distributions from retirement accounts
- social security or disability benefits
- capital gains
- income from rental properties or lease agreements
- and royalties from minerals
- Child support payments that you make toward children from other relationships or spousal support payments from a previous divorce
- Childcare expenses
- Health insurance premiums for the child or children
- If applicable, the child’s income
For self-employed parents, gross income is calculated by taking your company’s gross receipts and deducting ordinary and necessary expenses, just like you do for your taxes. If either you or the other parent involved in the custody situation is paying for child support for another child, those payments might be deducted from their gross income.
If you’re not certain what the gross income is for your child’s other parent, just know that this number must be disclosed in court. So once court proceedings begin, the other individual is required by law to disclose this number.
Completing the child support calculation worksheet
Louisiana supplies a worksheet for how to calculate child support.
Because there are many factors in the calculation, be sure to review this document with your child custody attorney to ensure you’re completing it correctly if you’re trying to estimate your share of child support.
The first step in determining child support is to calculate each parent’s share of total income. This is also called the “pro-rata share.” This will be a percentage calculation. For example, if parent 1 makes $4,000 a month and parent two makes $5,000 a month, then the total income for both is $9,000. (Parent 1 takes home 44% of the total income and parent 2 makes 56%.)
Next, you’ll factor in the total number of children involved. Add in certain childcare expenses like health insurance premiums (for the child only and not the parents’ coverage), and factor in the child’s income, if applicable. There are certain other expenses that may be added in – like private school tuition, for example.
To make the calculation simple, let’s say all monthly expenses for the child equal $1,000 a month. In the scenario above, parent 1’s obligation would be $440 and parent 2 would be $560. These numbers will be used to determine which parent must pay monthly child support payments to the other.
Contact Stanley-Wallace Law Today
The way the gross income is calculated, as well as what should and should not be included in the calculation– this is where the experience of a seasoned family law attorney can make a significant impact on your case. Factoring in total custodial time with each parent makes the calculations even more complicated for the average individual.
To protect your rights and ensure a smooth child custody case, contact our legal team at Stanley-Wallace Law. We can either help you establish child support, oppose a high child support award, or we can help you renegotiate child support payments if you or the child’s other parent have had financial changes. Give us a call at (985)-288-4621.