Louisiana Child Support Guidelines

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

Both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child. When parents aren't together and aren't living in the same household, a child support order is typically used to ensure that parents meet their financial obligations.

Louisiana Child Support Guidelines History

Child support laws are determined at the state level, but influenced by federal laws. The Family Support Act of 1988 gave the states unlimited authority to come up with their individual child support guidelines, which are used to determine the amount of support. The amounts can be rebutted only if their application would be inappropriate or unjust. Under Louisiana law, the obligation will depend on the actual resources of each parent and the needs of the child.

Louisiana Child Support Guidelines at a Glance

Although legal research begins with reading the relevant statutes, reading them in their entirety is often difficult because of the legal jargon. Reading a condensed version of the content devoid of legalese helps to clarify the law. Read the chart below for key takeaways about Louisiana's child support guidelines.

Statute(s)

Louisiana Revised Statutes:

  • Section 9:315.1(deviation from guidelines by court)
  • Section 9:315.2 (calculation of basic obligation)
  • Section 9:315.8 (calculation of total child support obligation; worksheet)
  • Section 9:315.16 (review of guidelines)
  • Section 9:315.18 (schedule information)
  • Section 9:315.19 (schedule for support)
  • Section 9:315.20 (worksheets)

 

Length of time parent must pay support

 

Under Louisiana law, both parents must financially support the child until the child reaches 18, but the support may continue if:

  • The child is a full-time student in secondary school or equivalent;
  • Hasn't reached 19; and
  • Is dependent upon either parent.

Income Shares Model

Louisiana uses the "income shares model" to calculate child support obligations. The income shares model is based on the amount of support that would be available to the child if the parents were together and living in the same household.

This amount is estimated and then divided proportionally using each parent's income; the specific calculations are made using the child support worksheet.

The Child Support Obligation

Custodial and Noncustodial Parents:

  • If the noncustodial parent has a higher income than the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent would be responsible for the greater portion of the child support obligation.
  • If the noncustodial parent has a lower income than the custodial, the noncustodial parent would then be responsible for the smaller portion of the child support obligation.

Joint Custody:

  • Although Louisiana presumes that joint custody is in the best interests of the child, the child support guidelines don't make many allowances for joint custody.
  • The court may consider the time spent by the child with the noncustodial parent as a basis for adjustment to the amount of child support to be paid during that time and may include the continuing expenses of the custodial parent.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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