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Court may increase support if combined income is more than $25,000.

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Courts often use wrong parenting time estimates when calculating child support, which could make your child support either too high or too low.

Custody X Change calculates parenting time accurately, so your child support will have the fairest outcome for your kids.

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Louisiana child support can be affected by parenting time totals

In Louisiana, the amount of child support is figured based on income only. Parenting time doesn't figure into the strict formula, though the court may deviate on a case-by-case basis when the parent who pays spends a lot of time with the child.

If this applies to your case, accurate parenting time numbers directly affect your child support. Use the calculator above to estimate how much you might owe or receive.

Most parenting time totals are estimates (and thus incorrect)

Louisiana lawyers and judges often rely on parenting time estimates, even if they are incorrect, because counting parenting time is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents often rely on these estimates as well.

Using estimates means your parenting time totals are wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.

How to calculate parenting time instead of relying on estimates

To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to add up hours for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total parenting time, and you can see how your parenting time changes each year due to holidays and other events.

You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Fast facts about Louisiana child support

In any divorce, Louisiana family courts award custody of the children to one or both parents. Custody is divided into legal custody and physical custody. In many states, physical custody has an impact on the amount of child support, but not in Louisiana.

In a Louisiana physical custody case, the family court will designate a primary physical custodian. It will not label physical custody under the sole or joint designation. The residential parent hosts the children the majority of the time. The nonresidential parent is entitled to visitation or parenting time.

Louisiana family courts must comply with the child support guidelines as specified in the statute, but a court has the right to deviate if it finds that there is a disservice to the best interests of the child or cause an unfair situation. If the court does deviate, the details must be made a part of the record.

Louisiana child support formula and parenting time totals

In Louisiana, the child support formula is the same for sole and joint physical custody.

Both parent's income is added together, then matched to a schedule of basic child support obligations that determines how much per month the children are entitled to. It includes columns with amounts for one child up to six children.

Unlike many other states, Louisiana gives no automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.

The only way parenting time can influence the amount of child support you receive or pay is if the family court deems the visitations are substantially in excess of those usually approved by the court. The court will make modifications to child support on a case-by-case basis.

Why accurate parenting time percentages are important in Louisiana

Accurate parenting time percentages are important because Louisiana law allows for exceptions to be made in the child support amount if you can show you qualify for special consideration.

The law states that the court can deviate from the standard formula if the noncustodial parent spends at least 73 days with the children.

It is possible that if the court finds extraordinary visitation time by the noncustodial parent, it may consider an abatement of support. In this scenario, it is important to present the court with accurate numbers.

If either parent were able to show that their parenting time greatly exceeded the standard as a nonresidential parent, the Louisiana family court may consider reducing the amount of child support.

Examples of Louisiana child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's adjusted income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's adjusted monthly income is $2,400. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert is scheduled to host the children for less than 73 days per year. He pays $914 in child support each month to Mary. If Mary hosted the children for less than 73 days per year, she would pay $549 each month to Robert.
  • Scenario #2: Robert is the nonresidential parent and hosts the children for 100 days per year, enough to request a deduction in child support. He pays $770 in child support to Mary.
  • Scenario #3: Mary hosts the children for 150 days. She pays $79 in child support per month to Robert, the minimum support order.
  • Scenario #4: Robert and Mary agree to a 50/50 split, or 182 days. He pays $278 in child support per month to Mary. This is because he is the higher earner.

The more overnights, the greater the credit is toward child support.

Other factors in the Louisiana child support formula

Louisiana's child support formula uses the following information to calculate your monthly amounts for joint custody child support:

  • The nonresidential parent's adjusted monthly income
  • Louisiana law specifies the age of majority as 18 years of age, but the Louisiana Revised Statute 9:315.22 extends child support for a child past the age of majority if the child is unmarried, a full time student in good standing in a secondary school, and dependent on either parent. Disabled children may receive support up to age 22.

  • The cost of health insurance premiums for the children
  • A pre-existing child support or alimony obligation by either parent

Parenting time only figures into a child support formula when you can show that your total parenting time is substantially in excess of what is usually approved by the Louisiana family courts.

How accurate child support helps your children

Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.

Here are some other reasons why accurate overnight numbers help you, the other parent and your children:

  • It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
  • It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
  • It is compliant with Louisiana law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Top 5 things to remember about Louisiana child support and parenting time

To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in Louisiana, remember these 5 things:

  1. Louisiana figures child support amounts based on a strict income shares formula that includes numbers such as gross monthly income for each parent and health care premiums for the children.
  2. To show the court your accurate parenting time numbers, provide calculations to the hour of your actual parenting time and show how that compares to your state's parenting time guidelines.
  3. Generally, the residential parent receives child support from the nonresidential parent.

Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to a Louisiana family court.

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