Louisiana Child Support Calculator


Court may order a minimum support amount of $100.

Not in Louisiana? Use your location's child support calculator.

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 calculations

As part of a case for paternity, child custody, divorce or legal separation, a judge orders one parent to make child support payments to the other. A support order ensures you both contribute fairly to meet your child's needs.

In Louisiana, if a judge decides both parents have significant (but unequal) parenting time, they may adjust the support amount recommended by the state. The judge chooses whether and how to do it, so you can't rely on getting an adjustment, but you can ask.

If you and your co-parent have roughly equal time, your overnights will affect the support amount — there's a formula to consider them.

Above, the Custody X Change calculator can give you a sense of what you may pay or receive.

If you'll seek a support amount on the basis of parenting time, be prepared to prove what's been happening. Calculate your exact parenting time, bring it to negotiations and print it for court.

You can agree on a child support amount. In a divorce or custody case, you write it in your custody agreement. In other situations, you write and sign a document solely about child support. The judge will grant your child support agreement if it serves your child's best interests.

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

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Guidelines for child support in Louisiana

In Louisiana, child support is owed until a child turns 18 or — as long as they continue to attend high school — up to their 19th birthday. If they have a developmental disability, it's owed up to age 22. If the adult child can't work due to disability, support may be owed indefinitely.

Many orders instruct parents to pay the same amount over time, and those parents have to go back to court if they want to change the amount. Others specify how payments will change over time, using language called an escalator clause.

The Louisiana Child Support Guidelines consider your combined incomes and whether one of you earns much more than the other. The guidelines also look at what you pay for:

  • Your child's health insurance and any medical expenses that exceed $250 per year — Medical support must be part of every Louisiana support order.
  • Child care — As a helpful tip, if you can't afford child care, the Louisiana Department of Education has a Child Care Assistance Program.

Unequal parenting time

If you have unequal time, you use Worksheet A to calculate child support. Usually the minimum support payment is $100 per month, but it can be less if the parent who pays is disabled or if you have split custody (each of you has primary care of at least one child).

Consider whether your parenting time may affect your amount of support:

  • If one of you has hardly any parenting time, the judge can't consider your parenting time at all.
  • If both of you have significant time, any adjustment for parenting time is up to the judge. The judge may consider your parenting time to be significant if it's at least four hours on at least 73 days per year (20 percent of days).

Equal parenting time

If you have near-equal time (shared custody), you use Worksheet B to calculate child support. Your area may have its own worksheets (like Worksheet B for East Baton Rouge Parish). The calculation adjusts your payment given your incomes and your parenting time. Where the form asks for "percentage of time," enter your percentage of overnights.

Calculate your overnights quickly and easily with Custody X Change.

How to request child support

If you don't already have a court order for support, Child Support Enforcement (CSE) will help you get one. They're part of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. They can also help determine paternity, seek health insurance for a child, collect support, enforce payment at your request and modify a support order.

If you receive funds from the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program, Kinship Care Subsidy Program or Medicaid, your support is under a federal law called Title IV-D. You'll automatically have a CSE case. (Keep in mind that public assistance affects child support. The state may take part of your support to make up for the assistance.)

If you don't receive public assistance, your support is likely "non-IV-D." For a $25 application fee you can apply for child support online or submit a paper application (English version and Spanish version).

Who pays whom

Typically, the nondomiciliary parent (usually the parent with less time) pays the domiciliary parent.

In a shared custody (equal time) arrangement, the parent with higher income generally pays the other parent. This evens out your contributions to your child's care.

How child support is paid

Usually, funds are withheld from a paycheck, and the employer forwards the money to the state. Louisiana calls this income assignment.

If there's no paycheck or no order for income assignment, the parent who owes can send money through Louisiana's payment center. The parent can:

  • Pay online through ExpertPay, which works with bank accounts, credit cards and PayPal.
  • Mail a money order or cashier's check.
  • Send cash through MoneyGram.

The other parent receives the funds electronically from the payment center.

If a court has ordered one parent to pay the other directly, keep a record of the payments.

How payment is enforced

When child support is past due, the debt is called an arrearage. If you have a Title IV-D case, CSE will go after arrearages for you. If your case is non-IV-D, you'll have to take the other parent to court to pursue arrearages. You'll have 10 years from the late or missed payment to pursue it.

The parent who owes can't erase this debt by declaring bankruptcy, and if a court finds them in contempt, they may be fined up to $500 or jailed for up to three months. Any professional license they have could be suspended. They should pay as much as they can to show the authorities they're making an effort.

How to change child support

You can ask to modify an order if you have a "material change in circumstances," such as:

  • You had a new child.
  • You got a job.
  • You lost a job.
  • You became disabled.
  • Your order would change by at least 25 percent if current Louisiana guidelines were applied.
  • Your existing order doesn't include medical coverage. (Louisiana requires it.)

If you end up parenting your child for more time than the court ordered, you may be able to persuade a judge that the other parent should compensate you for the associated costs. Track the deviations from your schedule carefully.

Calculating parenting time accurately

Estimating overnights can impact your support order by thousands of dollars a year.

Still, lawyers (and even courts) usually estimate because calculating manually is time-consuming.

Luckily, the Custody X Change app lets you quickly and accurately calculate your exact parenting time. It shows you the percentage of overnights, which parents with near-equal time must enter on Worksheet B when calculating child support.

With Custody X Change, you'll see how your time changes each year due to holidays and other events.

Custody technology also prevents common mathematical errors, such as double-counting time.

Remember that a child support order is legally binding and must be taken seriously.

Whether you are the one paying or receiving child support, make sure your overnights count is exact. The number can affect you, your child and the other parent for years to come.

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

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