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The ins and outs of child support in Louisiana: what you need to know

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Divorce |

If you are a parent facing a divorce in Louisiana, it is important to understand the basics of child support. Child support is a legal obligation that helps ensure both parents contribute to their child’s financial well-being.

There are a few things to understand about child support obligations.

Child support is not automatic

It is important to note that neither parent owes any child support until the other party officially files for support in court. Even if you separate from your child’s other parent, you must file for child support to establish a legal obligation. Without a formal filing, the other parent has no obligation to provide financial support.

You need to establish parental rights

Before filing for child support, you need to establish parental rights. If there is no legal determination of paternity, you need to take steps to prove it. You can do this through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or genetic testing.

You have to file with the court

To file for child support in Lafayette, you will need to submit a petition to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services or the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court. The petition should include information about both parents and the child as well as details about income and expenses.

The court determines the amount

Child support amounts in Louisiana depend on a set of guidelines that take into account factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children and the amount of time each parent spends with the child. The court may also consider additional expenses, such as healthcare costs and extracurricular activities.

You have enforcement options

If the paying parent fails to make payments, the DCFS can take enforcement actions, such as wage garnishment, seizure of assets or suspension of licenses. In some cases, failure to pay child support can even result in jail time.

Navigating the child support system in Louisiana can be complex, but understanding your rights and responsibilities is essential for the well-being of your child. By establishing parental rights and promptly filing for child support, you can ensure that both parents contribute to your child’s financial needs.

Schnaars Law Firm, LLC


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