How is Child Support Calculated?
There are many financial factors that are taken into consideration when calculating child support in Louisiana. The basic child support obligation is first calculated by combining the adjusted gross income of each parent, which is the amount of income each parent makes before taxes are taken out. This combined amount gives us the “adjusted gross income” of the parties. The State of Louisiana has created a chart for each level of income and the chart sets an amount of child support that shall be paid. The chart takes two factors into consideration:
Number of children, and
“Adjusted gross income” of the parties.
The chart is called the Louisiana Child Support Guidelines.
Expenses that Must be Included in Child Support Calculations
Once the basic child support obligation is determined, there are other expenses that must be included in the final child support obligation. One example is the child's health insurance. If one parent is paying for health insurance for the minor child, the monthly amount that is paid toward the minor child's health insurance must be included in the child support calculation. If the party paying child support is the parent that provides health insurance for the minor child, then that parent would get a deduction in the amount of child support that must be paid. However, if the parent that is receiving the child support is the parent that also pays for the child's health insurance, then an additional amount would be added to the basic child support obligation for the other party to pay.
Expenses that May be Included in Child Support Calculations
There are certain expenses that do not have to be added to the child support obligation but may still be owed by the parties. Some examples of these expenses are school tuition, extraordinary medical expenses, and extracurricular activities. These expenses may be included in the basic child support calculation, but most of the time they are not factored into the child support obligation as these expenses tend to fluctuate. If the parents include tuition or extracurricular expenses in the child support obligation, and the amount of these expenses changes, then the parent would have to go back to court to have this amount modified to reflect the change. Instead of including these expenses in the child support obligation, the parents can, and traditionally, agree to pay these amounts separately from the child support by additionally paying their pro rata portion of the expenses.
What Is Pro Rata Share of Expenses?
Each parent's adjusted monthly gross income is divided by the combined adjusted monthly gross income, which equals a percentage of the expense that each parent is responsible to pay. For example, a judgment may say the father is to pay 60% of the tuition for the minor child and the mother is to pay 40% of the tuition for the minor child.