What will your child support obligation look like in Louisiana?
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.
Detailed Visitation Transportation Plans Ensure Safe Exchanges
When a marriage ends and one or more children are involved, the divorcing parents often reach joint custody agreements. Joint customer means regular visitation to the other parent, which raises transportation issues. Those issues are even greater when the divorced spouses live a great distance apart and a simple car ride across town will not suffice. Virginia family law allows for detailed visitation transportation plans to enable safe transportation from one parent to another.
Common elements in a visitation transportation plan
A good visitation transportation plan should detail which parents are responsible for which types of transportation and the location where the child exchange occurs. If both parents have safe and reliable transportation but have personal animosity, a neutral location should be chosen. When the breakup is relatively amicable, then more direct transportation to the other parent’s home might be fine.
The plan should detail which parent is primarily responsible for providing transportation, acceptable modes of transportation, and any safety equipment that might be needed, such as a child safety seat. When one parent is going to be late for a planned visitation exchange, the visitation plan should outline how the two parties should communicate and prevent unneeded drama. The visitation plan ultimately is the best way to ensure affected children can enjoy time with both parents in the safest possible manner.
Refusing visitation transportation plans violate court orders
When a Virginia family law court enters a transportation plan, that plan is part of the final court order detailing child custody matters. When one parent refuses to abide the visitation plan, that parent is in contempt of court and violating the agreement. A judge could intervene and alter the order if needed to correct the matter and hold the offending party accountable of its actions.
An experienced family law attorney in Virginia’s St. Tammany Parish might be able to help you to reach a reasonable visitation transportation agreement. If one already is in place and your former spouse will not abide it or your situation has changed and a revision is in order, an attorney can help you get it done.
What role does spousal support play in Louisiana divorces?
During your marriage, there might have been a disparity between you and your spouse’s incomes. Or, you might have left the workforce to raise your children, and they were your family’s breadwinner. In either case, you may worry about whether you can support yourself as you two separate and divorce. Yet, your circumstances could make you eligible for spousal support in Louisiana.
Types of spousal support in Louisiana
Louisiana recognizes two different types of spousal support. Your spouse may pay you interim support if you need help meeting your expenses during your separation. Once your divorce finalizes, you will receive final periodic support, so long as you were not at fault for your marriage’s breakdown. Final periodic support will last for as long as you need it, or until you remarry or cohabit with a new partner. It will also terminate if you or your spouse dies.
Factors impacting spousal support in Louisiana
One surprising factor that could affect your spousal support award is whether you were at fault for your marriage’s breakdown. If your marriage ended because you committed adultery or you received a felony conviction, your spouse could file a fault-based divorce in Louisiana. In these cases, the court may bar you from receiving spousal support.
If your divorce is not fault-based, the value and duration of your spousal support award will depend on more traditional factors. These may include:
- The length of your marriage
- You and your spouse’s age and health
- You and your spouse’s income, earning capacity and means
- Whether you or your spouse’s share of custody will affect your earning capacity
- Whether you need job training or education to become self-sufficient
- The tax consequences of your spousal support award
If your spouse has a history of domestic abuse, their actions could impact your award as well. In most cases, your award cannot exceed one-third of their net income. If domestic abuse is a factor, you may receive a greater share of it.
When fighting for spousal support, you must acknowledge the factors that will affect its value and duration. Keeping these in mind, a family law attorney can help you work toward an award that reflects your specific needs.