Baton Rouge Child Support Lawyers
At Joubert Law Firm
, we are Baton Rouge child support attorneys who partner with the clients we serve to ensure their kids enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that does not compromise a parent’s ability to pay their bills and manage their household expenses.
Whether you are going through a divorce or your case involves the modification of an existing child support order, we can provide clear guidance and creative solutions in your child support case.
Baton Rouge Child Support Lawyers
Under Louisiana law, both parents have a legal duty to look after their child’s medical needs, financial requirements, and emotional well-being. Child support is put in place to benefit the child—not the parent who receives the check. Because the child must make his or her primary residence with one parent or the other, one parent will end up being designated the residential, custodial parent, and the other parent will act as the non-residential, non-custodial parent. As a practical matter, it is the custodial parent who typically receives child support, and the non-custodial parent who pays it.
Unlike other forms of financial support, such as alimony, child support is calculated using a formula, which makes it a bit easier to predict in a divorce or post-decree case. The Louisiana Child Support Guidelines
are set forth by state law, and they give parents a good idea of the appropriate amount of child support for their family size, incomes, and lifestyle.
Child Support Deviation.
However, these guidelines are not always the definitive way to calculate child support. In some cases, certain factors require a parent’s child support obligation to be adjusted—something known as a child support deviation. For example, if a parent has a disability that prevents him or her from working, it may be appropriate to reduce the parent’s child support obligation. In other cases, a parent’s financial hardship, illness, or other circumstance may convince the court to award support below what state law prescribes.
In other cases, the parents may agree to deviate from the child support guidelines on their own. This is permissible under state law, however, the court must approve parents’ decisions to go outside the guidelines. For example, if the child has extraordinary expenses, such as a health condition that requires significant financial contributions beyond what is covered by the parents’ health insurance, the court is likely to approve one parent paying these expenses in lieu of monthly child support. In other cases, a child may qualify to attend a gifted school or other educational program that is costly. This is also a situation in which the court might approve one parent covering these extraordinary expenses as a substitute for paying child support.
Child Support Modification.
Children’s needs constantly change, and life is always evolving and presenting new challenges. In some cases, it may be necessary to modify the amount of child support set by the court in a case. Under Louisiana law, a parent can petition the court to modify child support if there has been a material change in circumstances in the case.
A “change in circumstances” is defined as a life change or event that causes a 25 percent adjustment (up or down) in the amount of child support the child support obligor pays. Common changes that justify a child support modification include a parent’s promotion or job loss, a temporary layoff, a parent’s serious health condition, the birth of a new child, or a parent’s remarriage. Not every change in circumstance will result in a 25 percent adjustment, which is why it’s important to speak to a Baton Rouge child support lawyer if you think your situation merits a reduction or increase in child support.