Both parents of a child are legally obligated to provide financial support in Baton Rouge, LA. When parents separate, determining child support payments can become one of the more contentious matters. These support payments are calculated in Louisiana based primarily on each parent’s income and are intended to ensure a child has the same standard of living with both parents. However, there are many factors of your individual circumstances which can impact child support calculations. Determining child support, whether in mediation or in litigation, can be made easier with a Baton Rouge child support lawyer.
At Magnolia Law, we are dedicated to helping you protect your rights and interests, as well as the interests of your child or children. We understand that separation is never easy and that the outcome of a child support case, whether it is part of the divorce process or not, can have an impact on the rest of you and your family’s lives. It’s essential that child support is calculated fairly and accurately to meet the needs of your children without causing financial harm to either parent. The attorneys at Magnolia Law will work for you to ensure that your needs are heard.
Child support intends to provide financial equality between both homes and allow both parents to provide for the financial needs of their children the same as if the parents hadn’t separated. By maintaining the child’s standard of living, child support prevents a child from disliking staying with one parent simply because their income and ability to provide is less than their other parent.
Marriage, or biological and legal parentage, obligates a parent to financially support their child until the age of 18. The court orders child support payments when the parents of a child separate or divorce. Once a court order has been created, it can only be changed if there is a material change in circumstances, such as significant income changes from either parent or changes in the child’s financial needs.
Child support is calculated based on an income shares model formula and made to be in the child’s interests. The formula will be based on each parent’s income and how many children need support. The court may also consider external factors, including:
The court will look at how a child would have been supported if the parents had not separated based on their gross monthly income. The court will then divide that amount proportionally based on the individual parent’s income and the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
A family law attorney is invaluable in helping parents navigate the family law system and determining child custody that adequately supports their child. The family court system can be complex, especially during an emotional time like separation. Working with a family law attorney makes you feel confident that you’re doing the process right. Your attorney can review the unique factors in your family’s situation and determine the right legal path to take.
If you and your co-parent are able to come to an agreement through negotiation, an attorney can help ensure that a separation and child custody agreement is legal and that it’s likely to be considered fair by the judge. Your attorney can also negotiate for your interests and work through issues with your co-parent and their attorney.
If you and your co-parent are unable to come to an agreement via negotiation, your Baton Rouge child support attorney can represent you in court. The court without an attorney is an exceptionally stressful situation, and it can be much harder to advocate for your interests to the judge. Working with an attorney can provide you with compassionate legal support and a fierce advocate during litigation.
If you are supposed to receive child support payments from your co-parent, and you haven’t, you should discuss your situation with a child support attorney. The state can enforce penalties on parents who fail to pay their child support, and working with an attorney can make this process go more quickly.
The parent who fails to pay child support in Baton Rouge, LA can face criminal contempt penalties. They may also face wage garnishment on their paychecks, withholdings on their tax refunds, and suspension of their driver’s or professional license until they pay support.
It is illegal for a parent to willfully fail to pay child support for longer than six months or to have failed to pay more than $2,500.
For a first offense, penalties include fines of up to $500 or up to 6 months in jail, or both. These penalties are similar to a misdemeanor.
For a second offense, or failure to pay child support for more than one year or an amount greater than $15,000, penalties are more severe. Both these offenses result in a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 2 years of imprisonment with or without hard labor. These penalties are like those for a felony. The court will also require compensation equal to the unpaid support.
Prior to a support order being set by the court, you can work with an attorney to advocate for your interests. The court takes the interests of the child above all else, but child support payments should be fair to both parents.
Once a support order has been made by the court, it can only be changed through modification after significant material changes. These changes may include:
An experienced Baton Rouge Child Support Lawyer can help you determine if your change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant a request for modification.
At Magnolia Law, we can provide you with the legal support and care you need. Contact us today to see how we can advocate for your child’s interests and protect your rights.