As an involved and devoted parent, you may do almost anything for your child. Yet, as you and your spouse prepare to divorce, you will likely fear that your child support obligation could cause you economic pain. Balancing your child’s needs with your financial security will be a difficult act that you will have to pull off for as long as they are a minor. But you can prepare yourself for your obligation by familiarizing yourself with Louisiana’s laws.
Determining your obligation
In Louisiana, both you and your spouse will have an obligation to provide financial support to your child. Your individual contributions, though, will be determined through the state’s income shares model. This model factors the total cost involved in raising your child. And it divides the associated expenses in a manner proportionate to you and your spouse’s incomes. If you, for instance, earned three-quarters of your household’s income, then you would be responsible for 75% of the expenses for raising your child.
Your share of child support may also depend on your custody agreement. If you and your spouse receive joint custody, your obligation could decrease. This adjustment will happen at a judge’s discretion and will reflect any additional expenses you cover during your child’s scheduled time with you.
The length of your obligation
Your child support obligation will likely last until your child turns 18. Yet, they may still be in high school at this point and completely dependent on you and your spouse. In this case, your obligation will terminate once they turn 19 or when they graduate, whichever comes first.
No matter your child support obligation, you will want to make sure it is appropriate for your circumstances. By consulting a family law attorney, you can make sure it reflects both your family’s needs and your financial needs.