Stephen Rue Attorney Awards

Child Support Lawyers in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and Surrounding Parishes in Louisiana

Whether you are seeking an award of child support or you dispute payment, the child support lawyers at Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm can assist you in understanding your rights. We provide comprehensive child support representation to clients who have support issues within the context of a divorce or between parents that have never been married.

Stephen Rue twice has been voted the “BEST DIVORCE LAWYER” in New Orleans by Gambit weekly Readers Poll (2002 and 2003). In 2012, Stephen Rue was voted “BEST ATTORNEY” by Gambit weekly’s Best of New Orleans Readers Poll.

Stephen Rue also is the author of three books on Louisiana Family Law, Divorce, Custody, Visitation Child Relocation and related matters including the Louisiana Best Selling “LOUISIANA FAMILY LAW GUIDE.” (Found at Amazon.com) Rue has litigated over 2,000 divorces and family law cases throughout the Greater New Orleans Area (All Surrounding Parishes!)

 

What Is Child Support?

The concept of child support is premised on the principle that children should not be financially prejudiced by their parents’ divorce. Fathers and mothers, by the act of marriage, contract together the obligation of supporting, maintaining, and education their children. Biological paternity or maternity obliges each parent to support children as well.

When the parent paying child support can no longer give the support, or when the child receiving it is no longer in need of it, an action may be commenced so that, if granted, the support requirement will be discharged or its amount reduced. Once child support has been set by a court order, there must be a material change in circumstances in either party’s financial position or in the children’s needs to modify the award.

Louisiana has established presumptive Guidelines to be used in any child support proceeding. The Guidelines were enacted to address two problems: inconsistency in support awards and inadequate awards. These guidelines have been in place since 1989 and are well recognized by the Louisiana courts. The Guidelines are essentially a mathematical formula that calculates the amount of child support. The amount of support determined by the Guidelines is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. Although the formula is not difficult to calculate, there are complex rules on what constitutes income for purposes of child support calculation. Our child support lawyers know the rules in and out. We make sure our clients receive that proper amount of child support or ensure they pay only their appropriate amount.

New Orleans Child Support Lawyers

Whether you are seeking an award of child support or you dispute payment, the professional staff at Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm can assist you in understanding your rights. Our child support lawyers provide comprehensive representation to clients who have support issues within the context of a divorce or between parents that have never been married.

At Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm , our child support lawyers offer consultations so you can discuss your case.

Please contact our New Orleans and Parish Child Support Lawyers at StephenRue@me.com or call (24 hours a day/night). 504-529-5000 .

The following is an excerpt from Louisiana Divorce Handbook (Available on Amazon.com), with Express Permission of Author Louisiana Family Law Attorney Stephen Rue. @ All Rights Reserved, Stephen Rue 2014.

CHAPTER 8

CHILD SUPPORT

1. BACKGROUND AND STATISTICS

The purpose of a child support award is to provide financial assistance for a child based on the average monthly expenses associated with that child. The child support award should be based on the proportionate income or earnings capacity of the parents.

Each state has implemented child support guidelines to assist the courts with a means of calculating what is legislatively presumed to be sufficient for the child’s needs and which is fair relative to the parents’ earnings.

Quick Facts

Only 6.2 million (approximately half) of the 11.5 million custodial parents have a child support award or agreement. Mothers receive child support awards at a higher rate than fathers. Annually, over 5 million custodial parents live without any award of child support from the other parent. Reasons for not seeking a child support award include that the custodial parent does not want child support and that the other parent can not afford to pay child support. Approximately one-third of the 5 million parents without child support awards decided not to seek child support. 1996 statistics show that a mere sixty-seven (67%) percent (or $11.9 billion dollars) of the $17.7 billion dollars of child support due to custodial parents is paid. (U.S. Census Bureau).

Only half of custodial parents that have an order or agreement for child support receive payment in full. Unfortunately, approximately 25 percent of all custodial parents receive only partial payment. Worst of all, another 25 percent of custodial parents don’t receive any child support at all.

Approximately, 90 percent of fathers who have joint custody pay child support, while 80 percent of fathers who receive visitation pay child support. (The U. S. Census Bureau; American Bar Association).

State prosecutors report that approximately 2 to 5 percent of their child support cases involve mothers who owe past due child support. (American Bar Association).

Before a child support order can be made, paternity/maternity must be established. Paternity is discussed in a separate chapter.

2. STANDARD OF LIVING

Quick Facts

Mothers who receive child support have a lower annual income (Average $18,144 per year) versus their male counterparts receiving child support who have an average income of $33,579 per year. Less than 5 percent of divorced or separated women raising children of the marriage receive alimony. Approximately 42 percent receive child support, and the average amount received by them is approximately $125 per child per month. (U.S. Census Bureau)

A widely cited study discovered that a year after a divorce, the standard of living of women and children drops by an average 73 percent, while men’s standard of living actually increases an average of 42 percent. (Lenore Weitzman, “The Economics of Divorce: Social and Economic Consequences of Property, Alimony, and Child Support Awards,” UCLA Law Review 28:1181, 1245 (1981). ) Approximately one-third of all female headed families with children live in poverty.

LA-Art. 141. Child support; authority of court

In a proceeding for divorce or thereafter, the court may order either or both of the parents to provide an interim allowance or final support for a child based on the needs of the child and the ability of the parents to provide support.

The court may award an interim allowance only when a demand for final support is pending.

LA-C.C. Art. 142 Modification or termination of child support award

An award of child support may be modified if the circumstances of the child or of either parent materially change and shall be terminated upon proof that it has become unnecessary.

LA-C.C. Art. 227 Parental support and education of children

Fathers and mothers, by the very act of marrying, contract together the obligation of supporting, maintaining, and educating their children.

LA-C.C. Art. 3501.1 Actions for arrearages of child support

An action to make executory arrearages of child support is subject to a liberative prescription of ten years.

3. CHILD SUPPORT MODELS

There are two basic models for child support:

  1. Fixed child support payments that have no provisions for future modifications
  2. Escalator Clause/Variable child support payments that periodically change proportionate to actual changes in the parents’ income, the consumer price index (CPI), or some other variable

4. CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

Federal law requires each state to create child support guidelines. (42 U.S.C. 667) Child support guidelines presume that parents with similar incomes should be required to pay relatively equal amounts in child support. Likewise, a further goal of the implementation of child support guidelines is to prevent large variability in the child support awards under similar circumstances. Unfortunately, our national and state systems are seriously flawed as they operate under a false premise that people can accurately calculate child support figures and that parents will not misrepresent their income and/or earnings capacity. A significant danger for you lies in a haphazard implementation of your state’s child support guidelines as your child may suffer financially from the miscalculations and/or misrepresentations. The only key to safeguard you and your child from such neglect and abuse is to know the pitfalls and to benefit from the knowledge that you will gain from the following information.

GUIDELINES FOR DETERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION

LA-R.S. 9:315 Economic data and principles; definitions

A. Basic principles. The premise of these guidelines as well as the provisions of the Civil Code is that child support is a continuous obligation of both parents, children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents, and children should not be the economic victims of divorce or out-of- wedlock birth. The economic data underlying these guidelines, which adopt the Income Shares Model, and the guideline calculations attempt to simulate the percentage of parental net income that is spent on children in intact families incorporating a consideration of the expenses of the parties, such as federal and state taxes and FICA taxes. While the legislature acknowledges that the expenditures of two-household divorced, separated, or non-formed families are different from intact family households, it is very important that the children of this state not be forced to live in poverty because of family disruption and that they be afforded the same opportunities available to children in intact families, consisting of parents with similar financial means to those of their own parents.

B. Economic data.

(1) The Incomes Shares approach to child support guidelines incorporates a numerical schedule of support amounts. The schedule provides economic estimates of child-rearing expenditures for various income levels and numbers of children in the household. The schedule is composed of economic data utilizing a table of national averages adjusted to reflect Louisiana’s status as a low-income state and to incorporate a self-sufficiency reserve for low- income obligors to form the basic child support obligation.

(2) In intact families, the income of both parents is pooled and spent for the benefit of all household members, including the children. Each parent’s contribution to the combined income of the family represents his relative sharing of household expenses. This same income sharing principle is used to determine how the parents will share a child support award.

C. Definitions. As used in this Part:

(1) “Adjusted gross income” means gross income, minus amounts for preexisting child support or spousal support obligations paid to another who is not a party to the proceedings, or on behalf of a child who is not the subject of the action of the court.

(2) “Combined adjusted gross income” means the combined adjusted gross income of both parties.

(3) “Extraordinary medical expenses” means uninsured expenses over one hundred dollars for a single illness or condition. It includes but is not limited to reasonable and necessary costs for orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatment, physical therapy, uninsured chronic health problems, and professional counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders.

(4) “Gross income” means:

(a) The income from any source, including but not limited to salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, and spousal support received from a preexisting spousal support obligation;

(b) Expense reimbursement or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business, if the reimbursements or payments are significant and reduce the parent’s personal living expenses. Such payments include but are not limited to a company car, free housing, or reimbursed meals; and

(c) Gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income, for purposes of income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership or a partnership or closely held corporation. “Ordinary and necessary expenses” shall not include amounts allowable by the Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support.

(d) As used herein, “gross income” does not include:

(i) Child support received, or benefits received from public assistance programs, including Family Independence Temporary Assistance Plan, supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance.

(ii) Per diem allowances which are not subject to federal income taxation under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

(iii) Extraordinary overtime including but not limited to income attributed to seasonal work regardless of its percentage of gross income when, in the court’s discretion, the inclusion thereof would be inequitable to a party.

(5) “Health insurance premiums” means the actual amount paid by a party for providing health insurance on behalf of the child. It does not include any amount paid by an employer or any amounts paid for coverage of any other persons. If more than one dependent is covered by health insurance which is paid through a lump-sum dependent-coverage premium, and not all of such dependents are the subject of the guidelines calculation, the cost of the coverage shall be prorated among the dependents covered before being applied to the guidelines.

(6) “Income” means:

(a) Actual gross income of a party, if the party is employed to full capacity; or

(b) Potential income of a party, if the party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. A party shall not be deemed voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if he or she is absolutely unemployable or incapable of being employed, or if the unemployment or underemployment results through no fault or neglect of the party.

(c) The court may also consider as income the benefits a party derives from expense-sharing or other sources; however, in determining the benefits of expense-sharing, the court shall not consider the income of another spouse, regardless of the legal regime under which the remarriage exists, except to the extent that such income is used directly to reduce the cost of a party’s actual expenses.

(7) “Net child care costs” means the reasonable costs of child care incurred by a party due to employment or job search, minus the value of the federal income tax credit for child care.

5. REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION

Louisiana law creates a “legal fiction” as it presumes that the guidelines represent the child support financial requirements of an average Louisiana parent. The presumption that the guidelines are appropriate for your children’s’ support is rebuttable whereby allowing a deviation from the guidelines in cases where there is proof of special financial needs not anticipated in the guideline formulation.

LA-R.S. 9:315.1 Rebuttable presumption; deviation from guidelines by court; stipulations by parties

A. The guidelines set forth in this Part are to be used in any proceeding to establish or modify child support filed on or after October 1, 1989. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support obtained by use of the guidelines set forth in this Part is the proper amount of child support.

B.(1) The court may deviate from the guidelines set forth in this Part if their application would not be in the best interest of the child or would be inequitable to the parties. The court shall give specific oral or written reasons for the deviation, including a finding as to the amount of support that would have been required under a mechanical application of the guidelines and the particular facts and circumstances that warranted a deviation from the guidelines. The reasons shall be made part of the record of the proceedings.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraph (1), as a direct result of either Hurricane Katrina or Rita, the court may deviate from the guidelines set forth in this Part if the application of the guidelines would not be in the best interest of the child or would be unjust, inequitable, or cause undue hardship to the parties. In determining the amount of the child support, the court may also consider that the parties may have been prevented from timely access to the courts for the exercise of their legal rights. However, the amount of the deviation shall not exceed the consideration the court would have given if the party were able to timely access the court.

C. In determining whether to deviate from the guidelines, the court’s considerations may include:

(1) That the combined adjusted gross income of the parties is not within the amounts shown on the schedule in R.S. 9:315.19.

(a) If the combined adjusted gross income of the parties is less than the lowest sum shown on the schedule, the court shall determine an amount of child support based on the facts of the case, except that the amount awarded shall not be less than the minimum child support provided in R.S. 9:315.14.

(b) If the combined adjusted gross income of the parties exceeds the highest sum shown on the schedule, the court shall determine an amount of child support as provided in R.S. 9:315.13(B)(1) and may order the placement of a portion of the amount in a trust in accordance with R.S. 9:315.13.

(2) The legal obligation of a party to support dependents who are not the subject of the action before the court and who are in that party’s household.

(3) That in a case involving one or more families, consisting of children none of whom live in the household of the noncustodial or nondomiciliary parent but who have existing child support orders (multiple families), the court may use its discretion in setting the amount of the basic child support obligation, provided it is not below the minimum fixed by R.S. 9:315.14, if the existing child support orders reduce the noncustodial or nondomiciliary parent’s income below the lowest income level on the schedule contained in R.S. 9:315.19.

(4) The extraordinary medical expenses of a party, or extraordinary medical expenses for which a party may be responsible, not otherwise taken into consideration under the guidelines.

(5) An extraordinary community debt of the parties.

(6) The need for immediate and temporary support for a child when a full hearing on the issue of support is pending but cannot be timely held. In such cases, the court at the full hearing shall use the provisions of this Part and may redetermine support without the necessity of a change of circumstances being shown.

(7) The permanent or temporary total disability of a spouse to the extent such disability diminishes his present and future earning capacity, his need to save adequately for uninsurable future medical costs, and other additional costs associated with such disability, such as transportation and mobility costs, medical expenses, and higher insurance premiums.

(8) Any other consideration which would make application of the guidelines not in the best interest of the child or children or inequitable to the parties.

D. The court may review and approve a stipulation between the parties entered into after the effective date of this Part as to the amount of child support to be paid. If the court does review the stipulation, the court shall consider the guidelines set forth in this Part to review the adequacy of the stipulated amount and may require the parties to provide the court with the income statements and documentation required by R.S. 9:315.2.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 1990, No. 117, §1, eff. June 29, 1990; Acts 1992, No. 123, §1, eff. June 1, 1992; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2005, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 59, §1, eff. Dec. 6, 2005; Acts 2008, No. 579, §1.

6. CALCULATION OF BASIC CHILD SUPPORT

The first step in determining appropriate child support is to calculate the basic child support obligation as determined by using the guidelines and worksheet. Other child care expenses may be added to this figure while other deductions can be made as well.

LA-R.S. 9:315.1.1 Determination of income; evidence

A. When a party alleges that income is being concealed or underreported, the court shall admit evidence relevant to establishing the actual income of the party, including but not limited to the following:

(1) Redirected income. (a) Loans to the obligor by a business in which the obligor has an ownership interest and whether the loans will be repaid. There shall be a presumption that such loans are income of the obligor which may be rebutted if the obligor demonstrates there is a history of similar past loans being made and repaid in a timely manner with market interest rates, or the current loan is at market interest rates and is fully paid in accordance with a commercially reasonable time. The amount by which a commercially reasonable repayment amount exceeds the amount actually repaid shall be treated as income.

(b) Payment made by the obligor or by a business in which the obligor has an ownership interest to a person related by blood or affinity in the form of wages or salary. There shall be a presumption that such payments are income of the obligor, which may be rebutted if the obligor demonstrates there is a history of payments preceding the separation of the parties or the filing of an action to establish or modify child support, or that the payments are fair market value for services actually performed.

(2) Deferred income. Recent reductions in distributions of income, such as salary, bonuses, dividends, or management fees as a percentage of gross income of the business of the obligor. There shall be a presumption that past distributions of income will continue, which may be rebutted if the obligor demonstrates business conditions justify a reduction in distributions.

(3) Standard of living and assets. The standard of living and assets of the obligor both prior and subsequent to the establishment of a child support order, to establish the actual income if the amount claimed is inconsistent with his lifestyle.

B. When the income of an obligor cannot be sufficiently established, evidence of wage and earnings surveys distributed by government agencies for the purpose of attributing income to the obligor is admissible.

Acts 2009, No. 378, §1.

LA-R.S. 9:315.2 Calculation of basic child support obligation

A. Each party shall provide to the court a verified income statement showing gross income and adjusted gross income, together with documentation of current and past earnings. Spouses of the parties shall also provide any relevant information with regard to the source of payments of household expenses upon request of the court or the opposing party, provided such request is filed in a reasonable time prior to the hearing. Failure to timely file the request shall not be grounds for a continuance. Suitable documentation of current earnings shall include but not be limited to pay stubs or employer statements. The documentation shall include a copy of the party’s most recent federal tax return. A copy of the statement and documentation shall be provided to the other party. When an obligor has an ownership interest in a business, suitable documentation shall include but is not limited to the last three personal and business state and federal income tax returns, including all attachments and all schedules, specifically Schedule K-1 and W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and amendments, the most recent profit and loss statements, balance sheets, financial statements, quarterly sales tax reports, personal and business bank account statements, receipts, and expenses. A copy of all statements and documentation shall be provided to the other party.

B. If a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, his or her gross income shall be determined as set forth in R.S. 9:315.11.

C. The parties shall combine the amounts of their adjusted gross incomes. Each party shall then determine by percentage his or her proportionate share of the combined amount. The amount obtained for each party is his or her percentage share of the combined adjusted gross income.

D. The court shall determine the basic child support obligation amount from the schedule in R.S. 9:315.19 by using the combined adjusted gross income of the parties and the number of children involved in the proceeding, but in no event shall the amount of child support be less than the amount provided in R.S. 9:315.14.

E. After the basic child support obligation has been established, the total child support obligation shall be determined as hereinafter provided in this Part.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2009, No. 378, §1.

7. ASK FOR CONTRIBUTIONS FOR “EXTRAS”

In order to insure that each parent is financially responsible for his proportionate share of all child-related expenses, instruct your attorney to seek contributions for the other parent’s proportionate share of all insurance deductibles, co-payments, and payments not covered by insurance. These “Extra” expenses can quickly add up. Don’t let these dollars slip through the hands that help your child.

  • Medical expenses and medical insurance
  • Dental expenses and dental insurance
  • Extraordinary medical expenses (orthodontic/psychiatrist/counseling/miscellaneous health-related expenses)
  • Day-care expenses
  • Tuition/educational expenses
  • Extraordinary non-medical related expenses

8. NET CHILD CARE COSTS

Net child care costs are an addition to the basic child support obligation as calculated pursuant to LA-R.S. 9:315.3.

LA-R.S. 9:315.3 Net child care costs; addition to basic obligation

Net child care costs shall be added to the basic child support obligation. The net child care costs are determined by applying the Federal Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses provided in Internal Revenue Form 2441 to the total or actual child care costs.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1.

9. GET DAY-CARE

Daycare is a common and important expense that significantly can add to a parent’s child support obligation. Inquire with your attorney as to whether day-care expenses are included in the basic child support award or whether you should request it as an additional child-related expense.

The actual day-care expense incurred is usually under the discretion of the primary domiciliary parent. That parent usually chooses the day-care facility and resulting costs.

10. ASK THE COURT FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE DECISION REGARDING WHICH DAY-CARE FACILITY IS USED

By assisting in the choice of the day-care facility, you also participate in cost control.

11. REPLACE DAY-CARE WITH YOUR CARE

OR THAT OF RELATIVES

A parent may be able to significantly decrease the day-care expense by asking relatives to baby-sit. Grandparents and adult siblings often are more than willing to assist with this supervision. Your own physical care of your child can decrease the cost of day-care. Ask for the “right of first refusal” of having the physical possession of the child in events when the child would otherwise be at the day-care center or with a baby-sitter.

A parent may argue that having relatives provide baby-sitting services is inferior to a day-care facility as the day-care center may allow the child to gain socialization skills.

12. PLACE CHILD IN CHOSEN DAY-CARE FACILITY
PRIOR TO COURT DATE

Judges are quite hesitant to remove a child from a day-care facility once the child has commenced attending the center. Many attorneys believe that it is prudent to register and put your child into a day-care facility prior to the child support and/or custody trial date as the parent shall be able to show stability in the child’s life and provide evidence of actual day-care expenses. If a parent does not have the child in previously registered and/or attending a day-care facility, then the other parent will have greater chances to impeach the need for day-care, the choice of day-care, and the expense of day-care.

13. HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS

Quick Facts

Only about 40% of child support awards include medical insurance benefits as part of that award. Unfortunately, another 31% of those parents who were ordered to provide health insurance for their children failed or refused to provide it. Likewise, of the non-custodial parents who were not ordered to provide health insurance, 18% provided such insurance without an order. (U.S. Census Bureau)

Medical and dental expenses associated with your child should be included in the calculation and implementation of a child support award and related child care obligations. All orthodontic, psychiatric, and related needs of your child should be brought to the attention of your attorney.

If you anticipate certain future expenses for your child that have not yet arisen, ask your attorney to seek provisions in the child support order that compel the other parent to pay for a proportionate share of these expenses as they arise. This shall prevent you from having to pay your attorney to go back into court at a later date to seek this relief.

Health care insurance premiums also are added or subtracted from the basic child care obligation depending on which parent pays for the health insurance. It is important to provide your attorney with a break down of the premium allocated to each child by the insurance provider or employer.

LA-R.S. 9:315.4 Health insurance premiums; addition to basic obligation

A. In any child support case, the court may order one of the parties to enroll or maintain an insurable child in a health benefits plan, policy, or program. In determining which party should be required to enroll the child or to maintain such insurance on behalf of the child, the court shall consider each party’s individual, group, or employee’s health insurance program, employment history, and personal income and other resources. The cost of health insurance premiums incurred on behalf of the child shall be added to the basic child support obligation.

B. In any case in which the department is providing support enforcement services, the child support order shall require one or both of the parties to provide medical support for the child.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 1995, No. 236, §1; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2006, No. 481, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 2006.

14. EXTRAORDINARY MEDICAL EXPENSES

Extraordinary medial expenses are those incurred under circumstances of special medial treatment of a child. Louisiana courts consider “extraordinary medical expenses” to commence when those special medical treatments cost over $100 in a month or $1,000 in a year. Hence, it is important to request your attorney to ask the court or the opposing party for an order of support which includes an allocation of the special medical expenses under $100 per month; otherwise one parent may get stuck with paying the $89 monthly asthma medication expense without contribution from the other parent. Make your attorney acutely aware of any such special medial and/or pharmacy expenses.

LA-R.S. 9:315.5 Extraordinary medical expenses; addition to basic obligation

By agreement of the parties or order of the court, extraordinary medical expenses incurred on behalf of the child shall be added to the basic child support obligation. Extraordinary medical expenses are unreimbursed medical expenses which exceed two hundred fifty dollars per child per calendar year.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2004, No. 251, §1; Acts 2008, No. 578, §1.

15. OTHER EXTRAORDINARY EXPENSES

These “Extraordinary Expenses” generally include tuition, books, supplies, educational transportation expenses, and extracurricular expenses. Such expenses are largely subject to the discretion of the Court.

Like day-care, school tuition is an expense that can be quite costly. Inquire with your attorney as to your rights associated with school expenses. Your attorney should ask for the other parent’s contribution toward tuition, school loan interest payments, uniforms, school books, supplies, and school extracurricular expenses.

Judges generally have the discretion to determine whether a parent should be obligated to pay the additional expense for a child to attend a private or parochial school instead of a public institution. Many judges require a parent to prove that the child has a special need which would require the child to attend the private or parochial school. Yet, judges are reluctant to remove a child who already attends the private or parochial school. The court will look to the “best interest of the child” standard. Continuity of the child’s life is very important.

Quick Fact

Thirty four (34%) percent of America’s three- and four-year-olds are enrolled in nursery schools. (U.S. Census Bureau)

LA-R.S. 9:315.6 Other extraordinary expenses; addition to basic obligation

By agreement of the parties or order of the court, the following expenses incurred on behalf of the child may be added to the basic child support obligation:

(1) Expenses of tuition, registration, books, and supply fees required for attending a special or private elementary or secondary school to meet the needs of the child.

(2) Any expenses for transportation of the child from one party to the other.

(3) Special expenses incurred for child rearing intended to enhance the health, athletic, social, or cultural development of a child, including but not limited to camp, music or art lessons, travel, and school sponsored extracurricular activities.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2008, No. 579, §1.

16. ENTERING INTO A CONSENT AGREEMENT AND ORDER WHEREBY THE PARENTS AGREE TO PAY FOR COLLEGE EDUCATION

Although it may not be otherwise enforceable in Louisiana, if both parents are agreeable to the general child support provisions, it may be a good time to propose an agreement regarding the payment of your child’s college education. If both parents enter into such an agreement and it is converted into a judgment of the court, it may be enforceable at a later date. There does not appear to be any harm in trying to get an agreement that benefits the future of your child.

17. DEDUCTIONS FOR INCOME OF THE CHILD

Although deductions have been made for a child who has been working, remember that there should not be a deduction on this basis if the child has earned the income while a full-time student.

LA-R.S. 9:315.7 Deductions for income of the child

A. Income of the child that can be used to reduce the basic needs of the child may be considered as a deduction from the basic child support obligation.

B. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to income earned by a child while a full-time student, regardless of whether such income was earned during a summer or holiday break.

C. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to benefits received by a child from public assistance programs, including but not limited to Family Independence Temporary Assistance Programs (FITAP), food stamps, or any means-tested program.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection C of this Section, social security benefits received by a child due to the earnings of a parent shall be credited as child support to the parent upon whose earning record it is based, by crediting the amount against the potential obligation of that parent.

E. In cases where there is a child support arrearage, the court shall grant an evidentiary hearing before any arrearage is reduced based upon any lump sum payments received by the child.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2006, No. 386, §1.

18. CALCULATION OF TOTAL CHILD SUPPORT

It is not recommended that you try to calculate your own child support figures. In my many years of law practice, I have found the most of my clients who have attempted to calculate their own figures generally come up with an incorrect figure over 90% of the time. I have encountered many an attorney who does not regularly practice family law make these mistakes. Hence, I recommend that you confer with your attorney and provide him or her with the information and let them make the calculations. The calculation is too important to allow for a mistake. The Louisiana Family Law Guide provides you with the schedule and worksheets, but please be on guard that mistakes in calculation are quite common. Let your attorney do the work for you.

LA-R.S. 9:315.8 Calculation of total child support obligation; worksheet

A. The total child support obligation shall be determined by adding together the basic child support obligation amount, the net child care costs, the cost of health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, and other extraordinary expenses.

B. A deduction, if any, for income of the child shall then be subtracted from the amount calculated in Subsection A. The remaining amount is the total child support obligation.

C. Each party’s share of the total child support obligation shall then be determined by multiplying his or her percentage share of combined adjusted gross income times the total child support obligation.

D. The party without legal custody or nondomiciliary party shall owe his or her total child support obligation as a money judgment of child support to the custodial or domiciliary party, minus any court-ordered direct payments made on behalf of the child for work-related net child care costs, health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, or extraordinary expenses provided as adjustments to the schedule.

E. “Joint Custody” means a joint custody order that is not shared custody as defined in R.S. 9:315.9.

(1) In cases of joint custody, the court shall consider the period of time spent by the child with the nondomiciliary party as a basis for adjustment to the amount of child support to be paid during that period of time.

(2) If under a joint custody order, the person ordered to pay child support has physical custody of the child for more than seventy-three days, the court may order a credit to the child support obligation. A day for the purposes of this Paragraph shall be determined by the court; however, in no instance shall less than four hours of physical custody of the child constitute a day.

(3) In determining the amount of credit to be given, the court shall consider the following:

(a) The amount of time the child spends with the person to whom the credit would be applied.

(b) The increase in financial burden placed on the person to whom the credit would be applied and the decrease in financial burden on the person receiving child support.

(c) The best interests of the child and what is equitable between the parties.

(4) The burden of proof is on the person seeking the credit pursuant to this Subsection.

(5) Worksheet A reproduced in R.S. 9:315.20, or a substantially similar form adopted by local court rule, shall be used to determine child support in accordance with this Subsection.

19. EFFECTOF SHARED CUSTODIAL ARRANGEMENT

If you have a joint custody order wherein you have the physical custody approximately 50% of the time, then it likely will be defined as having “Shared Custody.” Under a “Shared Custody” order, Worksheet “B” provided below is used in the child support calculation.

LSA-R.S. 9:315.9 Effect of shared custodial arrangement

A.(1) “Shared custody” means a joint custody order in which each parent has physical custody of the child for an approximately equal amount of time.

(2) If the joint custody order provides for shared custody, the basic child support obligation shall first be multiplied by one and one-half and then divided between the parents in proportion to their respective adjusted gross incomes.

(3) Each parent’s theoretical child support obligation shall then be cross multiplied by the actual percentage of time the child spends with the other party to determine the basic child support obligation based on the amount of time spent with the other party.

(4) Each parent’s proportionate share of work-related net child care costs and extraordinary adjustments to the schedule shall be added to the amount calculated under Paragraph (3) of this Subsection.

(5) Each parent’s proportionate share of any direct payments ordered to be made on behalf of the child for net child care costs, the cost of health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, or other extraordinary expenses shall be deducted from the amount calculated under Paragraph (3) of this Subsection.

(6) The court shall order each parent to pay his proportionate share of all reasonable and necessary uninsured ordinary medical expenses as defined in R.S. 9:315(C)(8) which are under two hundred fifty dollars.

(7) The parent owing the greater amount of child support shall owe to the other parent the difference between the two amounts as a child support obligation. The amount owed shall not be higher than the amount which that parent would have owed if he or she were a domiciliary parent.

B. Worksheet B reproduced in R.S. 9:315.20, or a substantially similar form adopted by local court rule, shall be used to determine child support in accordance with this Subsection.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1, Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 62, §1, eff. June 16, 2002; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 62, §1; Acts 2004, No. 668, §1, eff. July 5, 2004; Acts 2012, No. 255, §2.

20. EFFECT OF SPLIT CUSTODIAL ARRANGEMENT

If you have a sole custody order or are the domiciliary parent of at least one child, then it likely will be defined as having “Split Custody” for purposes of child support calculation. Under a “Split Custody” order, Worksheet “A” provided below is used in the child support calculation.

LA-R.S. 9:315.10 Effect of split custodial arrangement

A. (1) “Split custody” means that each party is the sole custodial or domiciliary parent of at least one child to whom support is due.

(2) If the custody order provides for split custody, each parent shall compute a total child support obligation for the child or children in the custody of the other parent, based on a calculation pursuant to this Section.

(3) The amount determined under Paragraph (2) of this Subsection shall be a theoretical support obligation owed to each parent.

(4) The parent owing the greater amount of child support shall owe to the other parent the difference between the two amounts as a child support obligation.

B. Worksheet A reproduced in R.S. 9:315.20, or a substantially similar form adopted by local court rule, shall be used by each parent to determine child support in accordance with this Section.

21. VOLUNTARILY UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED PARTY

It is quite common for a parent to try to alleviate the child support financial burden by loosing a job, working less hours, manipulating the timing of bonuses and raises, and the like, for the primary purpose of establishing a lower gross income and thus paying less child support. The courts and the Louisiana legislature have recognized this problem. LA-R.S. 9:315.11 addresses this common tactic. The courts are allowed to impute income on a parent who voluntarily becomes unemployed or underemployed. In other words, the court will calculate the payor parent’s income at a level determined to be appropriate had the parent not become voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. One of the best ways to prove voluntary unemployment is through the testimony of co-workers and employers as well as through payroll records.

LA-R.S. 9:315.11 Voluntarily unemployed or underemployed party

A. If a party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, child support shall be calculated based on a determination of income earning potential, unless the party is physically or mentally incapacitated, or is caring for a child of the parties under the age of five years. In determining the party’s income earning potential, the court may consider the most recently published Louisiana Occupational Employment Wage Survey.

B. The amount of the basic child support obligation calculated in accordance with Subsection A of this Section shall not exceed the amount which the party paying support would have owed had a determination of the other party’s income earning potential not been made.

C. A party shall not be deemed voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if he or she has been temporarily unable to find work or has been temporarily forced to take a lower paying job as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina or Rita.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2004, No. 156, §1, eff. June 10, 2004; Acts 2005, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 59, §1, eff. Dec. 6, 2005; Acts 2008, No. 743, §7, eff. July 1, 2008; Acts 2010, No. 238, §1.

22. SECOND JOBS AND OVERTIME

LA-R.S. 9:315.12 Second jobs and overtime

The court may consider the interests of a subsequent family as a defense in an action to modify an existing child support order when the obligor has taken a second job or works overtime to provide for a subsequent family. However, the obligor bears the burden of proof in establishing that the additional income is used to provide for the subsequent family.

23. AMOUNTS NOT SET FORTH IN OR EXCEEDING THE SCHEDULE

LA-R.S. 9:315.13 Amounts not set forth in or exceeding schedule

A. If the combined adjusted gross income of the parties falls between two amounts shown in the schedule contained in R.S. 9:315.19, the basic child support obligation shall be based on an extrapolation between the two amounts.

B. If the combined adjusted gross income of the parties exceeds the highest level specified in the schedule contained in R.S. 9:315.19, the court:

(1) Shall use its discretion in setting the amount of the basic child support obligation in accordance with the best interest of the child and the circumstances of each parent as provided in Civil Code Article 141, but in no event shall it be less than the highest amount set forth in the schedule; and

(2) May order that a portion of the amount awarded be placed in a spendthrift trust for the educational or medical needs of the child. The trust shall be administered, managed, and invested in accordance with the Louisiana Trust Code. The trust instrument shall name the child as sole beneficiary of the trust, shall name a trustee, shall impose maximum spendthrift restraints, and shall terminate when the child attains twenty-four years of age, unless the parties agree to a later date. The trustee shall furnish security unless the court, in written findings of fact, dispenses with security.

Acts 1989, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 9, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1989; Acts 1995, No. 1121, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1009, §1; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2008, No. 579, §1.

LA-R.S. 9:315.14 Mandatory minimum child support award

In no event shall the court set an award of child support less than one hundred dollars, except in cases involving shared or split custody as provided in R.S. 9:315.9 and 315.10.

24. SCHEDULE FOR CHILD SUPPORT

LA-R.S. 9:315.18 Schedule; information

A. The amounts set forth in the schedule in R.S. 9:315.19 presume that the custodial or domiciliary party has the right to claim the federal and state tax dependency deductions and any earned income credit. However, the claiming of dependents for federal and state income tax purposes shall be as provided in Subsection B of this Section.

B. (1) The non-domiciliary party whose child support obligation is equal to or greater than fifty percent and equal to or less than seventy percent of the total child support obligation shall be entitled to claim the federal and state tax dependency deductions if, after a contradictory motion, the judge finds both of the following:

(a) No arrearages are owed by the obligor.

(b) The right to claim the dependency deductions or, in the case of multiple children, a part thereof, would substantially benefit the non-domiciliary party without significantly harming the domiciliary party.

(2) The child support order shall:

(a) Specify the years in which the party is entitled to claim such deductions.

(b) Require the domiciliary party to timely execute all forms required by the Internal Revenue Service authorizing the non-domiciliary party to claim such deductions.

 

C. The non-domiciliary party whose child support obligation exceeds seventy percent of the total child support obligation shall be entitled to claim the federal and state tax dependency deductions every year if no arrearages are owed by the obligor.

 

D. The party who receives the benefit of the exemption for such tax year shall not be considered as having received payment of a thing not due if the dependency deduction allocation is not maintained by the taxing authorities.

 

25. CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION WORKSHEET “A”

LA-R.S. 9:315.20 Worksheets

Obligation Worksheet A

(The worksheet for calculation of the total support obligation under R.S.:315.8

and 315.10)

 

Court ______________________________ Parish _______________________ Louisiana

Case Number ________________________ Div/CtRm ________________________________

____________________________________ and _____________________________________

Petitioner Respondent

Children Date of Birth Children Date of Birth

____________________________________ _________________________________________

____________________________________ _________________________________________

____________________________________ _________________________________________

———————————————

: A. Petitioner : B. Respondent : C. Combined

——————————————————————————-

1. MONTHLY GROSS INCOME (R.S. : $____________ : $ ___________ : /////////

9:315.2(A)) : : : /////////

a. Preexisting child support : -____________ : -____________ : /////////

payment. : : : /////////

b. Preexisting spousal support : -____________ : -____________ : /////////

payment. : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

2. MONTHLY ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME : $ : $ : /////////

(Line 1 minus 1a and 1b). : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

3. COMBINED MONTHLY ADJUSTED : /////////// : /////////// : $

GROSS INCOME (Line 2 Column : /////////// : /////////// :

A plus Line 2 Column B). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.2(C)) : /////////// : /////////// :

——————————————————————————-

4. PERCENTAGE SHARE OF INCOME : % : % : ////////

(Line 2 divided by line 3). : : : /////////

(R.S. 9:315.2(C)) : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

5. BASIC CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION : /////////// : /////////// : $

(Compare line 3 to Child : /////////// : /////////// :

Support Schedule). (R.S. : /////////// : /////////// :

9:315.2(D)) : /////////// : /////////// :

——————————————————————————-

a. Net Child Care Costs (Cost : /////////// : /////////// : +__________

minus Federal Tax : /////////// : /////////// :

Credit). (R.S. 9:315.3) : /////////// : /////////// :

b. Child’s Health Insurance : /////////// : /////////// : +__________

Premium Cost. (R.S. : /////////// : /////////// :

9:315.4) : /////////// : /////////// :

c. Extraordinary Medical : /////////// : /////////// : +__________

Expenses (Uninsured : /////////// : /////////// :

Only). (Agreed to by : /////////// : /////////// :

parties or by order of : /////////// : /////////// :

the court). (R.S. : /////////// : /////////// :

9:315.5) : /////////// : /////////// :

d. Extraordinary Expenses : /////////// : /////////// : +__________

(Agreed to by parties or : /////////// : /////////// :

by order of the court). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.6) : /////////// : /////////// :

e. Optional. Minus : /////////// : /////////// : -__________

extraordinary adjustments : /////////// : /////////// :

(Child’s income if : /////////// : /////////// :

applicable). (R.S. : /////////// : /////////// :

9:315.7) : /////////// : /////////// :

——————————————————————————-

6. TOTAL CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION : /////////// : /////////// : $

(Add lines 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, : /////////// : /////////// :

and 5d; Subtract line 5e). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.8) : /////////// : /////////// :

——————————————————————————-

7. EACH PARTY’S CHILD SUPPORT : $ : $ : /////////

OBLIGATION (Multiply line 4 : : : /////////

times line 6 for each : : : /////////

parent). : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

8. DIRECT PAYMENTS made by the : /////////// : – : /////////

noncustodial parent on : /////////// : : /////////

behalf of the child for : /////////// : : /////////

work-related net child care : /////////// : : /////////

costs, health insurance : /////////// : : /////////

premiums, extraordinary : /////////// : : /////////

medical expenses, or : /////////// : : /////////

extraordinary expenses. : /////////// : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

9. RECOMMENDED CHILD SUPPORT : /////////// : $ : /////////

ORDER (Subtract line 8 from : /////////// : : /////////

line 7). : /////////// : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

——————————————————————————-

Comments, calculations, or rebuttals to schedule or adjustments if made under 8

above or if ordering a credit for a joint custodial arrangement:

Prepared by ______________________________ Date ______________________________

26. CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION WORKSHEET “B”

Obligation Worksheet B

(The worksheet for calculation of the total child support obligation

under R.S.9:315.9)

 

Court ______________________________ Parish _______________________ Louisiana

Case Number ________________________ Div/CtRm ________________________________

____________________________________ and _____________________________________

Petitioner Respondent

Children Date of Birth Children Date of Birth

____________________________________ _________________________________________

____________________________________ _________________________________________

____________________________________ _________________________________________

———————————————

: A. Petitioner : B. Respondent : C. Combined

——————————————————————————-

1. MONTHLY GROSS INCOME (R.S. : $____________ $ __________ : /////////

9:315.2(A)) : : : /////////

:

a. Preexisting child support : -____________ : -___________ /////////

payment. : : : /////////

:

b. Preexisting spousal : -____________ : -____________ /////////

support payment. : : : /////////

:

——————————————————————————-

2. MONTHLY ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME $ : $ : /////////

(Line 1 minus 1a and 1b). : : : /////////

:

——————————————————————————-

3. COMBINED MONTHLY ADJUSTED : /////////// : /////////// : $

GROSS INCOME (Line 2 Column : /////////// : /////////// :

A plus Line 2 Column B). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.2(C)) : /////////// : /////////// :

——————————————————————————-

4. PERCENTAGE SHARE OF INCOME : % : % : ////////

(Line 2 divided by line 3). : : : /////////

(R.S. 9:315.2(C)) : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

5. BASIC CHILD SUPPORT : /////////// /////////// : $

OBLIGATION (Compare line 3 : /////////// : /////////// :

to Child Support Schedule). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.2(D)) : /////////// : /////////// :

:

——————————————————————————-

6. SHARED CUSTODY BASIC : /////////// : ////////// : $

OBLIGATION (Line 5 times : /////////// : /////////// :

1.5) (R.S. 9:315.9( A)(2)) : /////////// : /////////// :

——————————————————————————-

7. EACH PARTY’S THEORETICAL : $ : $ /////////

CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION : : : /////////

(Multiply line 4 times line : : : /////////

6 for each party)(R.S. : : : /////////

9:315.9(A)(2))DIAGONAL : : : 1 ///////

ARROWS LINK ITEMS 7 AND 8 : : : /////////

:

——————————————————————————-

8. PERCENTAGE with each party % : % : /////////

(Use actual percentage of : : : /////////

time spent with each party, : : : /////////

if percentage is not 50%) : : : /////////

(R.S. 9:315.9(A)(3)) : : : /////////

:

——————————————————————————-

9. BASIC CHILD SUPPORT : $ : $ /////////

OBLIGATION FOR TIME WITH : : : /////////

OTHER PARTY ( Cross : : : /////////

Multiply line 7 for each : : : /////////

party times line 8 for the : : : /////////

other party) (R.S. : : : /////////

9:315.9(A)(3)) (For Line 9 : : : /////////

Column A, multiply Line 7 : : : /////////

Column A times Line 8 : : : /////////

Column B) (For Line 9 : : : /////////

Column B, multiply Line 7 : : : /////////

Column B times Line 8 : : : /////////

Column A) :

——————————————————————————-

a. Net Child Care Costs (Cost /////////// : /////////// : +__________

minus Federal Tax : /////////// : /////////// :

Credit). (R.S. 9:315.3) : /////////// : /////////// :

:

b. Child’s Health Insurance : ////////// : /////////// : +__________

Premium Cost. (R.S. : /////////// : /////////// :

9:315.4) : /////////// : /////////// :

c. Extraordinary Medical : /////////// : /////////// +__________

Expenses (Uninsured : /////////// : /////////// :

Only). (Agreed to by : /////////// : /////////// :

parties or by order of : /////////// : /////////// :

the court). (R.S. : /////////// : /////////// :

9:315.5) : /////////// : /////////// :

:

d. Extraordinary Expenses : /////////// : ////////// : +__________

(Agreed to by parties or : /////////// : /////////// :

by order of the court). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.6) : /////////// : /////////// :

e. Optional. Minus : /////////// /////////// : -__________

extraordinary : /////////// : /////////// :

adjustments (Child’s : /////////// : /////////// :

income if applicable). : /////////// : /////////// :

(R.S. 9:315.7) : /////////// : /////////// :

:

——————————————————————————-

10. TOTAL EXPENSES/EXTRAORDINARY : /////////// /////////// : $

ADJUSTMENTS (Add lines 9a, : /////////// : /////////// :

9b, 9c, and 9d, Subtract : /////////// : /////////// :

line 9e) : /////////// : /////////// :

:

——————————————————————————-

11. EACH PARTY’S PROPORTIONATE $ : $ : /////////

SHARE of Expenses/ : : : /////////

Extraordinary Adjustments : : : /////////

(Line 4 times line 10) : : : /////////

(R.S. 9:315.9(A)(4)) : : : /////////

:

——————————————————————————-

12. DIRECT PAYMENTS made by : – : – : /////////

either party on behalf of : : : /////////

the child for work-related : : : /////////

net child care costs, : : : /////////

health insurance premiums, : : : /////////

extraordinary medical : : : /////////

expenses, or extraordinary : : : /////////

expenses. Deduct each : : : /////////

party’s percentage share of : : : /////////

the expense owed directly : : : /////////

to a third party. (R.S. : : : /////////

9:315.9(A)(5)) : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

13. EACH PARTY’S CHILD SUPPORT : $ $ : /////////

OBLIGATION (Line 9 plus : : : /////////

line 11 and minus line 12) : : : /////////

(R.S. 9:315.9(A)(4) and : : : /////////

(5)) : : : /////////

:

——————————————————————————-

14. RECOMMENDED CHILD SUPPORT : $ : $ : /////////

ORDER (Subtract lesser : : : /////////

amount from greater amount : : : 61 //////

in line 13 and place the : : : /////////

difference in the : : : /////////

appropriate column) (R.S. : : : /////////

9:315.9(A)(6)) : : : /////////

——————————————————————————-

——————————————————————————

Comments, calculations, or rebuttals to schedule or adjustments:

Prepared by ______________________________ Date _____________________________

27. WATCH FOR MANIPULATION

OF THE NUMBERS

Unfortunately, many lawyers may add “two plus two” and come up with “three.”

There are no national or statewide criteria on determining how much a person earns. Likewise, there no uniform standards regarding what period of time should be used to examine a parent’s income. Many jobs are cyclical such as construction, lawn care, Christmas tree sales, etc.; hence, the more cyclical the business, the more important it is to have an examination of income over a twelve month or a greater period of time. Some courts will look at the income over several years. Tax returns may give insight as to whether a parent is manipulating his or her income.

28. CHECK THE CALCULATION

OF EACH PARENT’S INCOME

Be leery of anyone who quickly estimates and/or calculates what the other parent makes in an average month. People have wide and diverse payment methods. Many people get paid by the hour, by the week, by the job, every two weeks, get paid overtime, get reimbursed for travel expenses, have expense accounts, etc.

Since child support guidelines provide formulas for calculations based on average actual income and/or earnings capacity, the time period from which the “average” is taken becomes critical.

For example, if parent one (“Huey P.”) earned the following income for the last year and one-half, the time period used to determine his average monthly income and/or earnings capacity could create significantly varied results.

Huey P.’s “Declared” Income:

Last year: January $3,000.00

February 3,000.00

March 3,000.00

April 3,000.00

May 3,000.00

June 3,000.00

July 3,000.00

August 3,000.00

September 3,000.00

October 3,000.00

November 3,000.00

December 3,000.00

Bonus (Paid in December) 6,000.00

This year: January 2,000.00

February 2,000.00

March 2,000.00

April 2,000.00

May 2,000.00

June 2,000.00

According to the above example, Huey P. made $42,000 last year. If your attorney did not discover that Huey P. made a $6,000.00 bonus, then he may incorrectly believe that Huey P.’s income last year was only $36,000. Additionally, if your attorney only calculated Huey P.’s average income based on his recent pay stub for the current year, your attorney would assume that Huey P. made an average of only $2,000.00 per month.

If your attorney calculates Huey P.’s income based on last year’s income of $42,000, Huey P.’s average monthly declared income would be $3,500.

If your attorney calculates Huey P.’s income based on the last eighteen months, Huey P.’s average monthly declared income would be $3,000.

As you can see from the above example, lawyers can use the figures that are available (through proper discovery) and come up with entirely different answers to the question of what a parent’s monthly income is. Have a talk with your attorney and ask him how he is calculating the declared income of each parent.

Instruct your attorney to subpoena the other parent’s federal tax returns (and W-2 and/or 1099) for the past several years, as well as the payroll records and personnel files from his employer(s).

(Sample Questions: Did your attorney know that Huey P. would receive a bonus and reimbursement for travel expenses at the end of the year? Did your attorney know that Huey P. made an arrangement with his boss to defer his earned compensation until after the court resolved the child support issues?)

29. THERE ARE 4.3 WEEKS IN EACH MONTH

1. Use the “4.3 Factor” when calculating a parent’s income. Mistakes are continually made in calculating a parent’s income by the assumption that there are four weeks in a month. There are not. Each year contains 52 weeks in a twelve-month period. Fifty-two divided by twelve equals 4.3. Hence, if the other parent is claiming to earn $1,000 per week, he may be declaring only $4,000 in income per month. His actual monthly income may be $4,300.

2. Apply the “4.3 Factor” when calculating a child support award. Similar mistakes can be made in calculating the child support award. An award of $100 per week does not equal $400 per month. There are 52 weeks in a year. If child support is ordered at $100 per week, the recipient of the child support would get $5,200 per year. If child support is ordered at $400 per month, the recipient gets only $4,800 that year.

The above example shows how easy it can be for a party to manipulate the child support calculations using your state’s guidelines.

30. DECLARED INCOME CAN BE MANIPULATED

It is worth repeating in this chapter: In order to effect the numbers used in the calculation of child support and/or alimony, a spouse may attempt to manipulate the numbers.

DECLARED INCOME CAN BE MANIPULATED BY:

  1. Change his standard of living
  2. Postpone salary increases
  3. Delay bonuses
  4. Encourage the other spouse to get a job or change jobs
  5. Reduce the number of hours worked
  6. Reduce overtime hours worked
  7. Increase or decrease childcare expenses
  8. Fail to report actual income earned in tax returns
  9. Put assets/income in someone else’s name (including new spouse)
  10. Becoming “disabled”
  11. Shelter money in corporations, partnerships, or trusts
  12. . Have personal expenses paid through family business
  13. Get reimbursed by employer for personal expenses (i.e., auto expenses, meals, travel) and
  14. Make misrepresentations to the court on required financial affidavit

31. LOOKING AT THE INCOME OF YOUR EX’S NEW SPOUSE

States view your Ex’s new spouse’s income in various ways. Some states prohibit any consideration of this income in determining child support. Many states allow consideration of the income, but do not provide guidelines to the court on how to consider it. And states such as Louisiana allow the courts to consider the income of the new spouse only indirectly to the extent that your Ex has shared living expenses with his new spouse and as such should have more disposable income available for child support.

Generally, the new spouse’s income will not be considered until or unless your attorney pushes for it (where allowed) and he or she has used discovery techniques to elicit the new spouse’s income information.

32. LOOK AT FINANCIAL AFFIDAVITS

AND IN FORMA PAUPERUS APPLICATION

Whether called a “financial affidavit,” “financial declaration,” or an “income and expense declaration,” representations made by a party on these pleadings often are the primary basis in the court’s determination of a child support award. Misrepresentation on these pleadings is rampant. Gone unchecked and/or without requests for supporting documentation, abuse can and likely will occur.

Additionally, many parties request the courts to waive the filing fees because of their reported inability to pay. These financial affidavits, often called “In Forma Pauperus” Applications are sworn representations of the applying party’s income and expenses. Once the form is filed it is often forgotten. A sharp opponent will compare the representations made on this initial affidavit with the sworn representations made at the time of the child support hearing. On occasion you will discover grave inconsistencies that will aid in the impeachment of your spouse’s credibility.

33. DEVIATIONS FROM

CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

The court may allow a deviation for the child support guidelines if the court finds that there are special needs of the child or extraordinary earnings of the parent. Generally, it is purely at the discretion of your judge as to whether he will permit a deviation from the guidelines.

Examples of grounds for deviation from the guidelines that might translate into a greater child support award are as follows:

  • The domiciliary parent’s use of the family home in lieu of partial payment of support
  • The extraordinary medical expenses relating to the child, not covered by insurance
  • The special educational needs and related expenses of the child
  • The extraordinary expenses of the child
  • The extraordinary length of time that a child spends with the parent receiving child support

Examples of grounds for deviation from the guidelines that might translate into a smaller child support award are as follows:

  • The income of a parent far exceeds the financial needs of a child
  • The medical limitations and disabilities of a parent
  • The wages earned and received by a child
  • The extraordinary length of time that a child spends with the parent paying child support

The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement compiled a list of the most common reasons that deviations from the guidelines were allowed.

Throughout America, reasons for deviation in child support awards are as follows:

  • Agreement between the parents (21%)
  • Needs of second households (14%)
  • Extended or extraordinary visitation/custody expenses (13%)
  • Non-custodial parent’s low income (11%)
  • An otherwise unjust result
  • Extraordinary needs of the parent

Other common excuses heard in courts throughout the country for parents seeking to pay less child support include the following:

  • Payer’s physical or mental disabilities
  • Payer’s irregular or cyclical employment
  • Custodial parent’s interference with visitation rights
  • Child support payments not benefiting children
  • Payer paid for other items for children
  • Not biological children
  • Child is working
  • Payer’s incarceration

34. WATCH OUT FOR CANCELLATION OF INSURANCE POLICIES

Occasionally, upon the filing of a divorce action, a spouse may cancel the health, life and/or homeowner’s insurance that covers you, your children, and your property. Ask your lawyer to file an “Ex Parte” motion for a temporary restraining order /injunction prohibiting these actions.

If your spouse cancels the insurance, your attorney should ask the court to compel him to re-instate the insurance and pay for any expenses that were incurred that would have been covered by the insurance had you or your child had been covered under the policy. Once again, ask your lawyer to file a motion for a temporary restraining order/injunction prohibiting the use of the policy.

35. WATCH OUT FOR 50-50 SPLIT

OF OTHER CHILD RELATED EXPENSES

Lawyers and judges often suggest a 50-50 split of medical insurance, extraordinary medical expenses, day-care expenses, tuition, and the like. Whether such a proposal benefits you depends on what percentage of the two parents’ combined gross income belongs to you.

36. DEPENDENCY TAX CREDIT

All tax consequences shall be discussed in Tax Chapter of this guide.

37. TEMPORARY AWARD OF CHILD SUPPORT

SETS THE TONE FOR REGULAR CHILD SUPPORT

A temporary award of child support and related child care expenses often later becomes a permanent award. A child support award is rarely reduced from the original temporary award. “Temporary” should not be equated to “not important” or “temporary” at all!

38. MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT

As long as the court maintains jurisdiction of the case and the child is eligible to receive the benefits of child support, the judge has the discretion to modify the child support award.

At the request of either party, the court can review the propriety of the child support award in effect. A party may seek a change in child support based on a “substantial” and/or “material” change of circumstance (either increase or decrease) in a party’s income, financial needs of the child, when one child becomes ineligible by age or other factors such as emancipation, or where medical support has not been considered.

Many states have no criteria to determine what dollar change is required to be considered “substantial.” Other states have provided standards to provide pecuniary measures as to whether a change is “substantial.” Some states require a change in a party’s average gross income, while others look to the proposed change in the actual child support award. “Substantial” could be defined as, as little as $50.00 or a ten (10%) percent change or as much of a minimum requirement of $100.00 or a thirty (30%) percent change. In many cases, the criteria established to allow a modification in child support are not rigidly followed.

As a recipient or payer of child support who has not sought a review in the award within the last several years, you should inquire as to whether an increase or decrease is in order. Your attorney’s request for various income and expense documents may assist you in this evaluation. Child support cases that involve AFDC, Title IV-E Foster Care and/or Non-AFDC Medicaid should be reviewed every three years.

39. WHEN PAYMENTS OF CHILD SUPPORT

SHOULD BE MADE

Although a moral obligation to pay child support begins at the child’s birth, in most states, a legal obligation to pay child support does not begin until it is requested by filing a pleading in court. In some states, the child support obligation is only retroactive to the date of filing for child support. Hence, it is important for the custodial parent to file for child support as soon as possible after the child is born.

Once a legal obligation of child support is created by law and/or by a judgment of a court, then the timing of the payments must be established. Courts often require payments each month, each week, every two weeks, or on the payer’s paycheck cycle.

A payer of child support may not get credit for payments made to the custodial parent that were made prior to the custodial parent’s formal request to the court for the support. Likewise, a payer of child support may not get credit against his child support obligation for the payment of child-related goods, such as diapers, food, and clothing.

Can the payer deduct for his expenses? Generally—No

For the payer to receive full credit for each cent that is paid in child support, the payments should be made directly to the recipient custodial parent.

40. GET PROOF OF PAYMENT

A payer should be able to prove payment of child support for a specified time period (i.e., month) by specifying in the memo of the check the following:

  1. Payment of “Child Support”
  2. Date (include period covered—i.e., “December of 2013”)

Example:

“Memo: Child Support for December of 2014”

The burden of proof that a child support payment was made generally falls on the payer. Regardless of whether you are the recipient or payer of child support, you should keep records and copies of all child support payments. This shall assist you if a dispute occurs at a later date.

Best Methods of Payment:

  1. Pay by personal check (Keep canceled checks and check registry)

The payer should keep photocopies of checks in case the bank does not return canceled checks.

  • Pay by money orders or cashier’s checks (keep copies)
  • Mail by “Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested”
  • Pay through the child support enforcement agency or clerk of the court
  • Pay through an income assignment

41. A PAYER SHOULD NEVER PAY IN CASH

Cash is the worst method of payment of child support. Unless a receipt is made and signed by both parties, proof becomes a swearing match. Furthermore, receipts may become suspect in cases where a spouse has threatened violence unless the custodial parent signed a fake receipt.

Payment should be made on or before the due date. Make sure that the payment is received by the recipient on or before the date ordered. If the payment is due on the first of each month, then it should be mailed before and not on the first day of the month.

Be careful of setting a precedent in child support. Many people who pay child support make the personal mistake of paying child support to the recipient parent in an amount much greater than the amount reasonably expected to be ordered to pay at the child support hearing. Many times, these “excessive” payments are made out of guilt or other emotions. The payer should realize that the continual excessive payment of child support could set a precedent which the court feels is appropriate at the time of the hearing.

A more safe and accurate approach to paying the appropriate amount of child support is with the help of your lawyer. Your attorney can use your state’s guidelines and suggest a figure that is fair.

It should be noted that any parent who has the ability and the desire to pay more child support than would be ordered should be commended.

Many parents who are ordered to pay child support complain that the other parent is not spending the child support money on the children. Most courts will not entertain discussions in this area unless the payer can prove that the custodial parent is neglecting to pay for the necessities of the children.

42. SPOUSAL SUPPORT VS. CHILD SUPPORT

Whether a payment is considered spousal support or child support has significant tax consequences. Please refer to the Tax chapter for an in-depth discussion of these distinctions.

43. WATCH FOR THESE TAXING WORDS:

“FAMILY SUPPORT”

Some states allow for the payment of a commingled combination of child support and alimony called “family support.” Be cautious of any proposal regarding “family support.” Louisiana courts have not recognized “Family Support.” There shall be tax consequences to such a transaction. Federal law allows alimony to be deductible to the payer and taxable to the recipient. Child support is neither deductible nor taxable to either party. Certain rules apply to the deductibility of “family support.” Before you entertain such a proposal, consult your attorney and tax advisor.

44. BANKRUPTCY AND CHILD SUPPORT

The payer of child support cannot interrupt his legal obligation to pay child support by filing bankruptcy. Furthermore, past-due child support is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. See Chapter on Bankruptcy.

Late payments may subject the payer to penalties and sanctions.

A payer of child support may be subject to many court sanctions if he is continually late in his payment of child support. The penalties and sanctions are listed below.

45. RETROACTIVITY OF CHILD SUPPORT JUDGMENT

It is important for your attorney to file his or her pleadings requesting child support as soon as practicable as Louisiana courts usually will grant a custodial parent with retroactive child support from the date of filing of the pleading requesting child support. It is also important that one remind the payor spouse that he or she may be responsible for the payment of the child support retroactively so that the prospective payor can start making payments in which he or she will receive credit if the payments are made subsequent to the filing.

LA-R.S. 9:315.21 Retroactivity of child support judgment

A. Except for good cause shown, a judgment awarding, modifying, or revoking an interim child support allowance shall be retroactive to the date of judicial demand, but in no case prior to the date of judicial demand.

B. (1) A judgment that initially awards or denies final child support is effective as of the date the judgment is signed and terminates an interim child support allowance as of that date.

 

(2) If an interim child support allowance award is not in effect on the date of the judgment awarding final child support, the judgment shall be retroactive to the date of judicial demand, except for good cause shown, but in no case prior to the date of judicial demand.

C. Except for good cause shown, a judgment modifying or revoking a final child support judgment shall be retroactive to the date of judicial demand, but in no case prior to the date of judicial demand.

D. Child support of any kind, except that paid pursuant to an interim child support allowance award, provided by the judgment debtor from the date of judicial demand to the date the support judgment is signed, to or on behalf of the child for whom support is ordered, shall be credited to the judgment debtor against the amount of the judgment.

E. In the event that the court finds good cause for not making the award retroactive to the date of judicial demand, the court may fix the date on which the award shall commence, but in no case shall this date be a date prior to the date of judicial demand.

46. WHEN CHILD SUPPORT ENDS

Child support usually ends when a child reaches the “age of majority.” Society deems the age of majority as the point in a child’s life when he is able to be legally independent from his parents. To be declared legally and financially independent is referred to as being “emancipated.” Emancipation is an event that generally terminates a child support obligation.

The “age of majority” of a child, in reference to the termination of child support, varies from state to state. The following states generally terminate child support upon the child reaching the age of 18:

Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Of the above referenced states, most states, including Louisiana, have provisions for the continuation of child support beyond a specified age based on extraordinary medical or educational circumstances (generally until the age of 19).

States such as Hawaii and Massachusetts allow the extension of the obligation of child support through to the age of 23, if the child is enrolled in full-time higher education.

Washington D.C., Mississippi, New York, and Puerto Rico consider the age of majority as being 21.

As there are currently no uniform laws as to the definition of the “age of majority” throughout the United States, theoretically a custodial parent with a child could move from one state that defines the “age of majority” as 18 to a state that has an “age of majority” as 21, and extend the child support obligation for another three years.

Events that may create a basis to terminate child support throughout the nation are the following:

  1. Obtaining the “age of majority”
  2. Marriage of the child
  3. Death of the child
  4. Completion of the child’s education
  5. The child entering the military
  6. The child’s full-time employment and
  7. The incarceration of the child (going to jail)

47. BASIS FOR EXTENDING CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION BEYOND THE “AGE OF MAJORITY”

There are two basic reasons that a child support obligation could extend beyond the child reaching his “age of majority”:

  1. The child has serious medical problems
  2. The child remains in secondary school

Each state has laws that control one’s eligibility to extend child support payments beyond the child’s “age of majority.” One thought is extremely prudent:

If a parent wants an extension of child support payments beyond the “age of majority,” then the parent should formally seek an extension from the court prior to the child reaching that age. When one or more children reach the “age of majority,” the entire child support obligation may be affected.

When parents have two or more minor children, a critical question arises as to what happens to the child support obligation when one of the children reaches the age of majority (or the child support obligation related to that child otherwise ends).

One of two circumstances can occur:

  1. The amount of the child support obligation continues unchanged
  2. The amount of the child support obligation is reduced

Prior to any of your children reaching the age of majority, consult your attorney and see how that event will affect you. A child support agreement or order can have provisions for a change in the child support award upon the occurrence of certain events (i.e., a child reaching the “age of majority”). Furthermore, a child support award can be calculated in increments based on a “per child” basis.

File for modifications, termination, or extension in child support in advance of event. Although a change or termination in a child support obligation may be automatic by the occurrence of an event such as the child’s attainment of the “age of majority,” it is inadvisable to assume that a modification, termination or extension in the obligation occurs without a formal request to the court. Speak with your lawyer to determine whether an action with the court is required. Failure to check with your lawyer, prior to the event, could be a costly mistake.

LA-R.S. 9:315.22 Termination of child support upon majority or emancipation; exceptions

A. When there is a child support award in a specific amount per child, the award for each child shall terminate automatically without any action by the obligor upon each child’s attaining the age of majority, or upon emancipation relieving the child of the disabilities attached to minority.

B. When there is a child support award in globo for two or more children, the award shall terminate automatically and without any action by the obligor when the youngest child for whose benefit the award was made attains the age of majority or is emancipated relieving the child of the disabilities attached to minority.

C. An award of child support continues with respect to any unmarried child who attains the age of majority, or to a child who is emancipated relieving the child of the disabilities attached to minority, as long as the child is a full- time student in good standing in a secondary school or its equivalent, has not attained the age of nineteen, and is dependent upon either parent. Either the primary domiciliary parent or the major or emancipated child is the proper party to enforce an award of child support pursuant to this Subsection.

D. An award of child support continues with respect to any child who has a developmental disability, as defined in R.S. 28:381, until he attains the age of twenty-two, as long as the child is a full-time student in a secondary school. The primary domiciliary parent or legal guardian is the proper party to enforce an award of child support pursuant to this Subsection.

48. INCOME ASSIGMENT/GARNISHMENT

Louisiana courts should order that the child support obligation is paid through an income assignment or garnishment unless agreed in writing by the parties. The parties may wish to make other payment arrangements as the government body that administers that income assignment usually charges the payor an additional fee which generally ranges from 3 to 5% of the monthly child support obligation.

LA-R.S. 9:303 Income assignment; new orders; deviation

A. In all new child support orders after January 1, 1994, that are not being enforced by the Department of Children and Family Services, the court shall include as part of the order an immediate income assignment unless there is a written agreement between the parties or the court finds good cause not to require an immediate income assignment.

B. For purposes of this Section:

(1) “Written agreement” means a written alternative arrangement signed by both parents, reviewed by the court, and entered into the record of the proceedings.

(2) “Good cause” exists upon a showing by the respondent that any of the following exist:

(a) There has been no delinquency in payment of child support for the six calendar months immediately preceding the filing of the motion for modification of an existing child support order.

(b) The respondent is agreeable to a consent judgment authorizing an automatic ex parte immediate income assignment if he becomes delinquent in child support payments for a period in excess of one calendar month.

(c) The respondent is not likely to become delinquent in the future.

(d) Any other sufficient evidence which, in the court’s discretion, constitutes good cause.

C. An income assignment order issued pursuant to this Section shall be payable through the Louisiana state disbursement unit for collection and disbursement of child support payments as provided in R.S. 46:236.11 and shall be governed by the same provisions as immediate income assignment orders that are being enforced by the department, including R.S. 46:236.1.1 et seq. All clerks of court in the state shall provide information to the state disbursement unit on income assignment orders issued pursuant to this Section. The department shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Section in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

Acts 1993, No. 145, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1121, §1, eff. Oct. 1, 1998; Acts 2010, No. 238, §1.

49. REDUCTION OR INCREASE IN CHILD SUPPORT

In order to receive a change from a prior support judgment, the party seeking the change must prove a material change in circumstances as set forth in LA-R.S. 9:311.

LA-R.S. 9:311 Reduction or increase in support; material change in circumstancesModification of support; material change in circumstances; periodic review by Department of Children and Family Services; medical support

A.(1) An award for support shall not be modified unless the party seeking the modification shows a material change in circumstances of one of the parties between the time of the previous award and the time of the rule for modification of the award.

(2) The Department of Children and Family Services shall prepare and distribute information, forms, and rules for the modification of support orders, in accordance with this Subsection, and for proceeding in forma pauperis. The information provided by the Department of Children and Family Services shall specifically include what may constitute a material change in circumstances. The clerks of court in all parishes shall make this information available to the public upon request. When the initial support order is entered, either the court or the department, if providing services, shall provide this information to the parties.

B. A judgment for past due support shall not of itself constitute a material change in circumstances of the obligor sufficient to reduce an existing award of support.

C. For purposes of this Section, in cases where the Department of Children and Family Services is providing support enforcement services:

(1) A material change in circumstance exists when a strict application of the child support guidelines, Part I-A of this Chapter, would result in at least a twenty-five percent change in the existing child support award. A material change in circumstance does not exist under this Paragraph if the amount of the award was the result of the court’s deviating from the guidelines pursuant to R.S. 9:315.1 and there has not been a material change in the circumstances which warranted the deviation.

(2) Upon request of either party or on its own initiative and if the best interest of the child so requires, the department shall provide for judicial review and, if appropriate, the court may adjust the amount of the existing child support award every three years if the existing award differs from the amount which would otherwise be awarded under the application of the child support guidelines. The review provided hereby does not require a showing of a material change in circumstance nor preclude a party from seeking a reduction or increase under the other provisions of this Section.

D. A material change in circumstance need not be shown for purposes of modifying a child support award to include a court-ordered award for medical support.

E. If the court does not find good cause sufficient to justify an order to modify child support or the motion is dismissed prior to a hearing, it may order the mover to pay all court costs and reasonable attorney fees of the other party if the court determines the motion was frivolous.

F. The provisions of Subsection E of this Section shall not apply when the recipient of the support payments is a public entity acting on behalf of another party to whom support is due.

G. A modified order for support shall be retroactive to the filing date of the rule for modification.

Acts 1985, No. 41, §1; Acts 1993, No. 478, §1; Acts 1997, No. 1245, §1, eff. July 1, 1997; Acts 2001, No. 1082, §1; Acts 2008, No. 886, §1; Acts 2010, No. 913, §3.

50. NO CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES INTENDED BY AMENDMENTS

The Louisiana child support laws were recently amended to create a schedule that encompassed combined monthly gross income of the parents up to $20,000 and for worksheets based on either “Shared” or “Split” custody. Any child support order created before the change of these laws can not be modified merely because of the amendments to the prior child support laws.

LA-R.S. 9:315.15 No change in circumstances intended

The enactment and subsequent amendment of this Part shall not for that reason alone be considered a material change in the circumstances of either party.

51. ACCOUNTING OF CHILD SUPPORT

LA-R.S. 9:312 Child support; accounting; requirements

A. On motion of the party ordered to make child support payments pursuant to court decree, by consent or otherwise, after a contradictory hearing and a showing of good cause based upon the expenditure of child support for the six months immediately prior to the filing of the motion, the court shall order the recipient of the support payments to render an accounting.

B. The accounting ordered by the court after the hearing shall be in the form of an expense and income affidavit for the child with supporting documentation and shall be provided quarterly to the moving party. The order requiring accounting in accordance with this Section shall continue in effect as long as support payments are made or in accordance with the court order.

C. The movant shall pay all court costs and attorney fees of the recipient of child support when the motion is dismissed prior to the hearing, and the court determines the motion was frivolous, or when, after the contradictory hearing, the court does not find good cause sufficient to justify an order requiring the recipient to render such accounting and the court determines the motion was frivolous.

D. The provisions of this Section shall not apply when the recipient of the support payments is a public entity acting on behalf of another party to whom support is due.

52. COLLECTION OF CHILD SUPPORT IN DIFFERENT STATES

According to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, in excess of 30% of child support claims involve parents who live in different states than their children.

53. CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS MAY INCLUDE

A LATE PAYMENT FEE PROVISION

If you are the recipient of child support, suggest that your attorney propose a provision in the agreement or order of child support that calls for a late payment fee if the payer is delinquent in his child support payment (the same principal can apply for spousal support payments). You can argue that if the payer is sincere in his intent to pay timely, then he should not complain about a late payment provision as the event would never arise. The payer would only have an objection if he had concerns or an intent to not pay timely.

54. DON’T RESTRICT VISITATION BECAUSE

OF A REFUSAL TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT

It is commonly tempting to refuse or restrict visitation if the payer is not providing child support payments as ordered. Unless a refusal or restriction of visitation is pursuant a “linkage order” (discussed later in this chapter), then the custodial parent is exposing himself to contempt of court sanctions. Also remember that the custodial parent must be a “good parent” for the child’s sake. Let the judge do his job, and deal with the non-paying parent. Let the wrath of the court come down only on the delinquent payer; otherwise, the wrath of the court may come down on both of you.

Another unintended result might occur. A few courts have ordered that child support payments are suspended where a custodial parent has intentionally refused and/or interfered with visitation rights.

Always remember that the child suffers by a refusal or restriction of visitation rights (unless the visiting parent is neglectful or abusive). The payment of child support and visitation generally are separate issues.

Non-custodial parents who have joint custody and/or visitation rights are more likely to pay child support than those parents that do not have these rights. Of the 11.5 million non-custodial parents, 6.9 million have joint custody of their children. (U.S. Census Bureau)

55. THE UNIFORM RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT OF SUPPORT ACT (URESA)

This federal act was created in 1950 to assist in the uniform enforcement of child support orders across state lines. In 1968, the act was revised. States’ use of URESA is decreasing as it has only marginal desirability and effectiveness. Under URESA, a person seeking child support would request the attorney to file a petition in their “initiating” state. The pleadings would be sent to the “responding” state where the noncustodial parent lives or owns property. It was the responsibility of the foreign responding state to establish and/or enforce a child support order. Under URESA, a noncustodial parent could argue before his or her home state (“responding state”) that a reduction in the amount is sought. The possibility of more than one child support order could exist under URESA, thus creating a child support discrepancy between the “initiating” and “responding” state’s orders.

Many states have repealed their URESA legislation in favor of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).

56. THE UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY

SUPPORT ACT (UIFSA)

Under UIFSA, the establishment and enforcement of a child support obligation is assisted with one order. Unless agreed by both parents, UIFSA provides that the state that originally makes the child support decree continues to have jurisdiction (“continuing exclusive jurisdiction”) as long as one parent continues to reside in the state. This insures that only one child support order is in effect. Courts evaluate whether jurisdiction exists on a case by case basis. The court will consider the following factors in deciding whether jurisdiction exists:

  1. Whether the noncustodial parent is personally served in the state
  2. Whether the noncustodial parent consents to the jurisdiction of the state
  3. Whether the noncustodial parent had resided with the child within the state
  4. Whether the noncustodial parent had sexual intercourse in the state that lead to the conception of the child
  5. Whether the child resides in the state as a result of any action of the noncustodial parent
  6. Whether the noncustodial parent acknowledged the child in the state and/or
  7. Any other facts that the court deems relevant

UIFSA legislation allows one state’s income withholding order to be directly sent to an employer of the noncustodial parent in another UIFSA state.

Each state has a Central Registry for the collection of interstate child support orders. A listing of each state’s Central Registry is found in the Appendix.

Your lawyer can give you more information on how these federal acts affect one’s ability to collect child support.

57. TWENTY WAYS TO COLLECT CHILD SUPPORT IN AMERICA

 

      • Income Withholding/Wage Assignment/Garnishment/Payroll Deduction
      • Contempt of Court
      • Collect Attorney Fees, Court Costs and Related Expenses
      • Intercept of Federal and State Income Tax Refunds
      • Property Seizure and Sale/Restraining Notices and Orders to Prohibit Transfer of Property
      • Suspension/Revocation of Louisiana Licenses
      • Arrest Warrants and Jail
      • “Most Wanted” Lists
      • New Hire Reporting
      • Intercept of Unemployment Benefits, Worker’s Compensation Benefits, Social Security and Disability Benefits, State Lottery Winnings, and Pensions/Benefits of State Employees
      • Appointment of Receiver
      • Require a Bond/Security
      • Judicial and Administrative Liens
      • Report to Credit Bureaus
      • File Creditors Suit
      • Private Collection Agencies
      • Linkage Order
      • Collect from the Military
      • Private Attorney
      • Child Support Enforcement Office

Specific details in enforcement:

1. Income Withholding/Wage Assignment/Garnishment/Payroll Deduction

Quick Facts

Two-thirds of all child support dollars collected by state child support agencies come from income withholding.

Courts can order that the non-custodial parent pay child support through an income assignment. This forces payment of part or all of the support obligation with the assistance of the obligor’s employer. In many states, failure of an employer to withhold to the extent ordered and/or allowed by law could result in the employer becoming liable for the amount of child support that should have been properly withheld.

If an employer fails to withhold earnings pursuant to a garnishment order, the failure of the employer to garnish does not excuse or relinquish the payer’s obligation to pay the support.

Pursuant to the FAMILY SUPPORT ACT OF 1988 (Title IV, Part D of the Social Security Act), states should impose automatic income assignments to all new or modified child support decrees. Although mandated by the federal government, many courts are lax in the application of this law.

When Congress first enacted legislation to garnish the wages of federal employees for child support in the late 1970s, fewer than 1,000 federal employees were affected annually. Now the federal government garnishes over 3,500 federal employee checks per month. (Defense Finance and Accounting Service)

2. Contempt of Court

The court will consider several factors in determining whether a party is in contempt of court. The factors include the following:

1. The existence of a valid written order

2. The payer’s knowledge of the order

3. The payer’s ability to comply with the order

4. The payer’s willful disobedience of the order

Each state has different penalties for being held in contempt of court. Speak to your lawyer to find what penalties apply in your state.

3. Collect Attorney Fees, Court Costs and Related Expenses

4. Intercept of Federal and State Income Tax Refunds

Your state can intercept the noncustodial parent’s state income tax return for past due child support. Often the noncustodial parent will be more willing to allow the entire tax refund to be intercepted as payment for past due support as the noncustodial parent has never seen the money; therefore, it seems to hurt less.

been collected from approximately 10 million intercepted federal tax refunds.

Every year the state child support enforcement agencies contact the Internal Revenue Service with the names of parents who owe past due child support.

58. PROMPTLY NOTIFY THE STATE
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT OFFICE

Contact your state’s child support enforcement agency as soon as possible in order to begin the process of seeking a federal tax refund offset, as tax returns are filed only once a year. You want to make sure that your state agency has enough time to properly submit your claim to the IRS before the refund is sent to the delinquent parent.

5. Property Seizure and Sale/Restraining Notices and Orders to Prohibit Transfer of Property

Courts have procedures that allow a recipient of child support to seize property of a non-supporter to collect a support debt. A variety of assets can be seized ranging from real estate, automobiles, boats, jewelry, money in checking and savings accounts, and cash.

6. Suspension/Revocation of State Licenses

Many states allow the suspension and/or revocation of driver’s licenses, hunting licenses, fishing licenses, and professional licenses such as license to practice law, medicine and the like.

7. Arrest Warrants and Jail

Many states have criminal sweeps called “round-up days.” In these cases, an arrest warrant has been issued and the deadbeat is a fugitive from justice.

59. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, CONSIDER RELIEF PURSUANT TO THE CHILD SUPPORT RECOVERY ACT OF 1992

The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 makes it a federal crime to willfully fail to pay arrearages in a child support award if the child lives in another state than the payer. For the law to apply, the past due child support must remain unpaid for in excess of one year or the past due child support is greater than $5,000. The United States Attorneys Office shall look at various factors in deciding whether to prosecute a case under the act. Factors include whether the non-paying parent is moving from state to state to avoid paying the child support, whether the parent is using deceit to avoid payment (such as using a fictitious name or social security number, whether the parent has refused to pay child support after being held in contempt of court by a state court, and whether the failure or refusal to pay is related to another federal crime such as bankruptcy or mail fraud.

Penalties for violation of this federal law include the following:

First Offense—Six months in prison and/or a fine

Subsequent Offense—Two years in prison and/or a fine

8. “Most Wanted” Lists

The United States Post Office displays “Wanted Lists” of persons who owe child support. States are encouraged to create and maintain a similar program. Private organizations have also considered using “Wanted Lists”; however, much of the private participation in this program has been stifled by concerns regarding defamation lawsuits.

Many states have “most wanted lists” that provide the picture, name and other information on the deadbeat parent.

9. New Hire Reporting

Under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996%z (HR 3734), all states must establish a Directory of New Hires. States have implemented a “New Hire Reporting” policy which requires employers to provide data to the state on the employment and/or re-employment of individuals. The data is sent to the state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. All states must have complied with this federal law by October 1, 1998.

This federal “New Hire Reporting” law requires that all employers must report the hiring/re-hiring of all new/re-hired workers within twenty days of the hire. The employer’s report must include the following information:

1. The full name of the employee

2. The employee’s social security number

3. The employee’s home address

4. Date of employee’s first day at work

5. The employer’s name, address, and Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

6. The employer’s state identification number

Reports can be submitted by using the employee’s W-4 form.

After the information is registered in the state and federal system, the information is processed to see if there is a match to a person who owes back due child support. If a match is found, an order is sent to the employer that compels the employer to withhold wages for the payment of child support.

Quick Facts

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, within the next ten years, the New Hire Reporting Program is expected to increase child support collections by 6.4 billion dollars.

10. Intercept of Unemployment Benefits; Worker’s Compensation Benefits; State Lottery Winnings; and Pensions/Benefits of State Employees

Federal law mandates that all states have procedures for withholding unemployment compensation benefits for payment of past due child support obligations.

States are particularly strict on their own employees.

11. Appointment of Receiver

12. Require a Bond/Security

Courts may require the delinquent payer to provide a cash bond and/or other security to insure that the child support obligation is paid.

A few courts have directed property of a payer to be placed in a trust. States that allow such a trust include the following: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

13. Judicial and Administrative Liens

14. Report to Credit Bureaus

The noncustodial parent will not want to have a poor credit rating on his report.

15. File a Creditor’s Suit

If you become aware of property in the hands of third parties that belong to the delinquent payer of child support, your attorney may be able to file a creditor’s suit against the other party with the intent to retrieve the asset(s) as partial or full payment of the past due child support debt.

16. Private Collection Agencies

17. Linkage Order

Although not uniformly favored throughout the country, some courts have made “Linkage Orders” that link a parent’s ability to have visitation rights with his compliance with the payment of child support.

18. Collect from the Military

The United States Armed Forces makes a concerted effort to have their soldiers pay the child support obligation. If the noncustodial parent is in the military, contact the appropriate branches office found in the Appendix.

19. Private Attorney

Whether you seek to collect child support through a private attorney or the state office of child support enforcement, the information requested in the appendices shall be of significant value to your attorney. Be sure to answer the questions, keep the information in a safe place, and provide your attorney with a copy of the information.

20. Child Support Enforcement Office

60. REPORT PROBLEMS TO THE OFFICE OF

CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT

If you find that a certain agency or court is failing to pursue the enforcement of your order awarding child support, you may seek assistance by reporting the problems, via certified mail, to the following federal office:

Federal Parent Locator Service
Department of Health and Human Services
Family Support Administration
Office of Child Support Enforcement
4th Floor
370 L’Enfant Promenade S.W.
Washington D.C. 20447

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is an agency of the United Stated Department of Health and Human Services which works in conjunction with state agencies. The OCSE assists in locating missing parents, establishing paternity, and establishing and collecting collect support. The OCSE also may assist in the collection of alimony if the past due alimony is due pursuant to a prior order establishing both alimony and child support.

The OCSE will not assist a party in obtaining a divorce, property settlement, and/or the pursuit of a new order for alimony.

Quick Facts

In a recent year, state child support enforcement agencies established over a million new child support orders, enforced and/or modified over five million child support orders, and collected $10.8 billion dollars in child support payments. In the same period, the state agencies also established paternity for 903,400 children.

State Child Support Offices assist in the following:

1. Locating non-custodial parents

2. Establishing paternity

3. Establishing child support orders and /or

4. Enforcing child support orders/collecting child support

Louisiana’s Office of Support Enforcement Services is as follows:

Louisiana Enforcement Services
Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 44276
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
http://www.dss.state.la.us/mainfram.htm

61. LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT SERVICES REGIONAL OFFICES

Alexandria
900 Murray Street
P.O. Box 832
Alexandria, LA 71309-0832
(318) 487-5202
Covered Parishes: Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon, and Winn

Amite
407 N.W. Central Avenue
P. O. Box 338
Amite, LA 70422-0338
(504) 748-2006
Covered Parishes: Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington

Baton Rouge
333 Laurel Street, Second Floor
P.O. Box 829
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
(225) 342-5760
Covered Parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, St. James, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana

Gretna
802 Second Street
Gretna, LA 70053
Covered Parish: Jefferson

Lafayette
825 Kaliste Saloom Road, Suite 200
P. O. Box 3867
Lafayette, LA 70508-3867
(337) 262-5813
Covered Parishes: Acadia, Iberia, Lafayette, St.Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion

 

Lake Charles
1417 Gadwell Street
Lake Charles, LA 70615
(337) 491-2111
Covered Parishes: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis

Monroe
2006 Tower Drive
P. O. Box 3144
Monroe, LA 71210-3144
(318) 362-5271
Covered Parishes: Bienville, Caldwell, Claiborne, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Union, and West Monroe

Natchitoches
1774 Texas Street
P. O. Box 1317
Natchitoches, LA 71458
(318) 357-3109
Covered Parishes: DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, and Sabine

New Orleans
2235 Poydras Street
P. O. Box 53446
New Orleans, LA 70153-3446
(504) 826-2222
Covered Parishes: Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard

Shreveport
9310 Normandie Drive
P. O. Box 18590
Shreveport, LA 71138
(318) 676-7010
Covered Parishes: Bossier, Caddo, and Webster

Tallulah
1614 Felicia Drive
P. O. Box 431
Tallulah, LA 71282-0431
(318) 574-0486
Covered Parishes: East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas

 

Thibodaux
1000-A Plantation Road
P. O. Box 1427
Thibodaux, LA 70302-1427
(985) 447-0952
Covered Parishes: Lafouche, St. Charles, St. John, and Terrebonne

Ville Platte
318 Nita Drive
P. O. Box 119
Ville Platte, LA 70586
(337) 363-6638
Covered Parishes: Allen, Evangeline, and St. Landry

62. STATE CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT OFFICES

IN AMERICA

Alabama
Division of child Support Activities
Bureau of Public Assistance
State Department of Pensions and Security
64 N. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(205) 242-9300
http://www.state.al.us/

Alaska
Child Support Enforcement Agency
Department of Revenue
201 E. 9th Avenue, Room 302
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 276-3441
http://www.revenue.state.ak.us/csed/csed.htm.

Arizona
Child Support Enforcement Administration
Department of Economic Security
P.O. Box 6123, Site Code 966C
Phoenix, AZ 85005
(602) 255-3465
http://aztec.asu.edu/cirs/alpha/1360.html

 

Arkansas
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Arkansas Social Services
P.O. Box 3358
Little Rock, AR 72203
(501) 371-2464
http://www.state.ar.us/

California
Child Support, Program Management Branch
Department of Social Services
744 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 323-8994
http://www.childsup.cahwnet.gov.

Colorado
Division of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
1575 Sherman Street, Room 423
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-2442

http://www.dss.state.ct.us/svcs/csupp.htm

Connecticut
Bureau of Child Support
1049 Asylum Avenue Resources
Hartford, CT 06105
(203) 566-3053
(800) 228-KIDS (5437)
http://www.dss.state.ct.us/svcs/csupp.htm

Delaware
Services for Children, Youth and Their Families
Program Support Division
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, DE 19805
(302) 633-2670
http://www.state.de.us

 

District of Columbia
Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Human Services
3rd Floor
425 I Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 724-56610

Florida
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
1317 Winewood Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(904) 488-9900
http://fcn.state.fl.us/dor/cse.html

Georgia
Office of Child Support Enforcement
P.O. Box 80000
Atlanta, GA 30357
(404) 894-5087
http://www.state.ga.us/Departments/dhr/cse/

Guam
Child Support Enforcement Unit
Department of Public Health and Social Services
Government of Guam
P.O. Box 2816
Agana, GU 96910
(671) 734-2947

Hawaii
Child Support Enforcement Agency
770 Dapiolani Boulevard, Suite 606
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 548-5779
http://www.hawaii.gov/csea/csea.htm

Idaho
Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Health and Welfare
Statehouse Mail
Boise, ID 83720
(208) 334-4422
http://www.state.id.us/

Illinois
Bureau of Child Support
Department of Public Aid
316 south Second Street
Springfield, IL 62762
(217) 782-1366
http://www.state.il.us/dpa/cse.htm

Indiana
Child Support Enforcement division
State Department of Public Welfare
4th Floor
141 South Merridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46224
(317) 232-4894
http://www.ai.org/fssa/cse/

Iowa
Child Support Recovery Unit
Iowa Department of Social Services
1st Floor
Hoover Building
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-5580
http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/ga/76ga/legislation/sf/02300/sf02344/current.htl

Kansas
Child Support Enforcement Program
Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Perry Building, 1st Floor
2700 West Sixth
Topeka, KS 66606
(913) 296-3237
http://www.ink.org/public/srs/srswanted.html

Kentucky
Human Resources Cabinet
Family Services Division
275 East Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40621
(502) 564-6852
http://www.state.ky.us/oag/childs.htm

 

Louisiana
Louisiana Enforcement Services
Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 44276
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
(504) 342-4780
http://www.dss.state.la.us/mainfram.htm

Maine
Support Enforcement and Location Unit
Department of Human Services
State House Station II
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 289-2886
http://www.state.me.us/

Maryland
Child Support Enforcement Administration
Department of Human Resources
5th Floor
300 West Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(301) 383-4773
http://www.state.md.us/srv_csea.htm

Massachusetts
Child Support Enforcement Unit
Massachusetts Department of Revenue
213 First Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 621-4759
http://www.mst,oa.net:8002/macse.html

Michigan
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 30037
Landsing, MI 48909
(517) 373-7570
http://www.mfia.state.mi.us

 

Minnesota
Department of Human Services
Space Center Building
444 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55101
(612) 296-2499
http://www.co.hennnepin.mnus/weapsupp.html

Mississippi
Child Support Division
State Department of Public Welfare
P.O. Box 352
515 East Amite Street
Jackson, MS 39205
(601) 354-0341
http://www.mdhs.state.ms.us/cse.html

Missouri
Child Support Enforcement Unit
Division of Family Services
Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 88
Jefferson City, MO 65103
(314) 751-4301
http://services.state.mo.us/dss/cse/cse.htm

Montana
Child Support Enforcement Bureau
P.O. Box 5955
Helena, MT 59604
(406) 444-3347
http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/whowhat/csed.htm

Nebraska
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-3121
http://www.unl.edu/ccfl/cse.htm

 

Nevada
Child Support Enforcement Program
Welfare Division
2527 North Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89710
(702) 885-4474
http://state.mv.us/

New Hampshire
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Division of Welfare
Health and Welfare Building
Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-4426
http://little.nhlink.net/nhlink/governme/county/dhs/chld_sup.htm

New Jersey
Child Support and Paternity Unit
Department of Human Services
CN 716
Trenton, NJ 08625
(609) 633-6268
http://www.state.nj.us/judiciary/prob01.htm

New Mexico
Child Support Enforcement Bureau
Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 2348 –PERA Building
Santa Fe, NM 85793
(505) 827-4230
http://www.mostwanted.com/nh/support.htm

New York
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Albany, NY 12260
(518) 474-9081
http://www.state.ny.us/dss/

 

North Carolina
Child Support Enforcement Section
Division of Social Services
Department of Human Resources
433 North Harrington Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 733-4120
http://www.state.nc.us/cse/

North Dakota
Child Support Enforcement Agency
North Dakota Department of Human Services
State Capitol
Bismark, ND 58505
(701) 224-3582
http://www.state.nd.us/hms/

Ohio
Bureau of Child Support
Ohio Department of Human Services
State Office Tower
31st Floor
30 East Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-3233
http://www.ohiogov/odhs/

Oklahoma
Division of Child Support
Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 25352
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
(405) 424-5871
http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/acfprograms/cse/fct/sp_ok.html

Oregon
Child Support Program
Department of Human Resources
Adult and Family Services Division
P.O. Box 14506
Salem, OR 97309
(503) 378-6093
http://170.104.17.50/rss/rogues.html

Pennsylvania
Child Support Enforcement Program
Department of Public Welfare
P.O. Box 8018
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 783-1779
http://www.state.pa.us/pa_exec/public_welfare/overview.html

Puerto Rico
Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
Ferninandez Juncos Station
P.O. Box 11398
Santurce, PR 00910
(809) 722-4731

Rhode Island
Bureau of Family Support
Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services
77 Dorance Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 277-2409
http://www.state.ri.us/

South Carolina
Division of Child Support
Public Assistance Division
Bureau of Public Assistance and Field Operations
Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 1520
Columbia, SC 29202
(803) 758-8860
http://www.state.sc.us/

South Dakota
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social Services
700 Illinois Street
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3641
http://www.state.sd.us/state/executive/social/social.html

Tennessee
Child Support Services
Department of Human Services
5th floor
111-19 Seventh Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 741-1820
http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv/

Texas
Child Support Enforcement Branch
Texas Department of Human Resources
P.O. Box 2960
Austin, TX 78769
(512) 463-2005
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/website/childsup.htm

Utah
Office of Recovery Services
P.O. Box 15400
3195 South Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
(801) 486-1812
http://www.state.ut.us/

Vermont
Child Support Division
Department of Social Welfare
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05676
(802) 241-2868
http://www.dsw.state.vt.us/ahs/ahs.htm

Virgin Islands
Paternity and Child Support Program
Department of Law
P.O. Box 1074
Christiansted
St. Croix, VI 00820
(809) 773-8240

Virginia
Division of Support Enforcement Program
Department of Social Services
8004 Franklin Farm Drive
Richmond, VA 23288
(804) 662-9108
http://www.state.va.us/-dss/childspt.html

Washington
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Social and Health Services
P.O. Box 9162-MS PI-11
Olympia, WA 98504
(206) 459-6481
http://www.wa.gov/dshs/csrc.html

West Virginia
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Human Services
1900 Washington Street, East
Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 348-3780
http://www.state.wv.us/

Wisconsin
Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Community Services
1 West Wilson Street
P.O. Box 7851
Madison, WI 53707
(608) 266-9909
http://dhss.state.wi.us/dhss/pubs/html/childsp.html

Wyoming
Child Support Enforcement Section
Division of Public Assistance and Social Services
State Department of Health and Social Services
Hathaway Building
Cheyenne, WY 82002
(307) 777-6083
http://www.dfsweb.state.wy.us/csehome/wybody1.htm

63. INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS TO BRING TO YOUR OFFICE OF CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT

      1. Name of noncustodial parent
      2. Last known address of noncustodial parent
      3. Child’s birth certificate
      4. Any child support order
      5. Any divorce decree (if applicable)
      6. Last known name and address of noncustodial parent’s employer
      7. Any other information regarding the whereabouts and/or income/assets of the noncustodial parent

64. LOCATE “DEADBEATS”

The PARENT LOCATOR SERVICE is one of the most effective methods to track down non-custodial parents who live in or out of your state. The computerized system locates parents by the use of driver’s license numbers, security numbers, and other means of identification.

States differ in the extent of their ability to trace a person through their state agencies. States typically contact the following sources:

      • Credit Bureau Contacts
      • Department of Corrections
      • Department of Human Services (Food Stamps and other programs)
      • Department of Labor/Employment Security (Food Stamps and Unemployment Benefits)
      • Department of Public Safety/Motor Vehicles/Transportation
      • Department of Revenue/Taxation
      • Department of Social Services
      • Department of Vital Statistics (Birth Certificates)
      • Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Fish and Game Licenses)
      • IV-A/Medicaid Database
      • New Hire Reporting System
      • Registrar of Voters/Department of Elections (Voter Registration)
      • Secretary of State

65. SUSPENSION OR MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION WHEN SECRETING A CHILD

LA-R.S. 9:315.23 Suspension or modification of child support obligation; secreting of child

If one joint custodial parent or his agent is intentionally secreting a child with the intent to preclude the other joint custodial parent from knowing the whereabouts of the child sufficiently to allow him to exercise his rights or duties as joint custodial parent, the latter may obtain from the court an order suspending or modifying his obligation under an order or judgment of child support. However, such circumstances shall not constitute a defense to an action for failure to pay court-ordered child support or an action to enforce past due child support.

66. AWARD OF ATTORNEY FEES

LA-R.S. 9:375 Award of attorney’s fees

A. When the court renders judgment in an action to make executory past-due payments under a spousal or child support award, or to make executory past-due installments under an award for contributions made by a spouse to the other spouse’s education or training, it shall, except for good cause shown, award attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.

B. When the court renders judgment in an action to enforce child visitation rights it shall, except for good cause shown, award attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.

67. COSTS; ACTION TO MAKE CHILD SUPPORT EXECUTORY

LA-R.S. 9:304.1 Costs; action to make child support executory

A. An action to make past due child support executory may be filed by any plaintiff, who is unable to utilize the provisions of Chapter 5 of Title I of Book IX of the Code of Civil Procedure, without paying the costs of court in advance or as they accrue or furnishing security therefore, if the court is satisfied that the plaintiff because of poverty or lack of means cannot afford to make payment.

B. When the action has been filed without the payment of costs as provided in Subsection A and the plaintiff is not the prevailing party, except for good cause, the court shall order the plaintiff to pay all costs of court.

68. DISAVOWAL OF PATERNITY RELATING TO CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION

LA-R.S. 9:305 Disavowal of paternity; ancillary to child support proceeding

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of Civil Code Art. 189 and for the sole purpose of determining the proper payor in child support cases, if the husband, or legal father who is presumed to be the father of the child, erroneously believed, because of misrepresentation, fraud, or deception by the mother, that he was the father of the child, then the time for filing suit for disavowal of paternity shall be suspended during the period of such erroneous belief or for ten years, whichever ends first.

B. No provision of this Section shall affect any child support payment or arrears paid, due, or owing prior to the filing of a disavowal action if an order of disavowal is subsequently obtained in such action

69. SEMINAR FOR DIVORCING PARENTS

Louisiana courts often require the divorcing spouses to go to parenting classes to insure that the couple understands their responsibilities, including the financial obligation of child rearing.

LA-R.S. 9:306 Seminar for divorcing parents

A. Upon an affirmative showing that the facts and circumstances of the particular case before the court warrant such an order, a court exercising jurisdiction over family matters may require the parties in a custody or visitation proceeding to attend and complete a court-approved seminar designed to educate and inform the parties of the needs of the children.

B. If the court chooses to require participation in such a seminar, it shall adopt rules to accomplish the goals of Subsection A of this Section, which rules shall include but not be limited to the following:

(1) Criteria for evaluating a seminar provider and its instructors.

(2) Criteria to assure selected programs provide and incorporate into the provider’s fee structure the cost of services to indigents.

(3) The amount of time a participant must take part in the program, which shall be a minimum of three hours but not exceed four hours nor shall the costs exceed twenty-five dollars per person.

(4) The time within which a party must complete the program.

C. For purposes of this Section, “instructor” means any psychiatrist, psychologist, professional counselor, social worker licensed under state law, or in any parish other than Orleans, means a person working with a court- approved, nonprofit program of an accredited university created for educating divorcing parents with children. All instructors must have received advanced training in instructing co-parenting or similar seminars.

D. The seminar shall focus on the developmental needs of children, with emphasis on fostering the child’s emotional health. The seminar shall be informative and supportive and shall direct people desiring additional information or help to appropriate resources. The course content shall contain but not be limited to the following subjects:

(1) The developmental stages of childhood, the needs of children at different ages, and age appropriate expectations of children.

(2) Stress indicators in children adjusting to divorce, the grief process, and avoiding delinquency.

(3) The possible enduring emotional effects of divorce on the child.

(4) Changing parental and marital roles.

(5) Recommendations with respect to visitation designed to enhance the child’s relationship with both parents.

(6) Financial obligations of child rearing.

(7) Conflict management and dispute resolution.

E. Nonviolent acts or communications made during the seminar, which are otherwise relevant to the subject matter of a divorce, custody, or visitation proceeding, are confidential, not subject to disclosure, and may not be used as evidence in favor of or against a participant in the pending proceeding. This rule does not require the exclusion of any evidence otherwise discoverable merely because it is presented or otherwise made during the seminar.

70. CONTEMPT OF COURT

LA-R.S. 13:4611 Punishment for contempt of court

Except as otherwise provided for by law:

(1) The supreme court, the courts of appeal, the district courts, family courts, juvenile courts, and the city courts may punish a person adjudged guilty of a contempt of court therein, as follows:

(a) For a direct contempt of court committed by an attorney at law, by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than twenty-four hours, or both; and, for any subsequent contempt of the same court by the same offender, by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than ten days, or both;

(b) For disobeying or resisting a lawful restraining order, or preliminary or permanent injunction, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than twelve months, or both, except in juvenile courts and city courts, in which punishment may be a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

(c) For a deliberate refusal to perform an act which is yet within the power of the offender to perform, by imprisonment until he performs the act; and

(d) For any other contempt of court, including disobeying an order for the payment of child support or spousal support or an order for the right of custody or visitation, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for not more than three months, or both.

(e) In addition to or in lieu of the above penalties, when a parent has violated a visitation order, the court may order any or all of the following:

(i) Require one or both parents to allow additional visitation days to replace those denied the noncustodial parent.

(ii) Require one or both parents to attend a parent education course.

(iii) Require one or both parents to attend counseling or mediation.

(2) Justices of the peace may punish a person adjudged guilty of a direct contempt of court by a fine of not more than fifty dollars, or imprisonment in the parish jail for not more than twenty-four hours, or both.

(3) The court or justice of the peace, when applicable, may suspend the imposition or the execution of the whole or any part of the sentence imposed and place the defendant on unsupervised probation or probation supervised by a probation office, agency, or officer designated by the court or justice of the peace, other than the division of probation and parole of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. When the court or justice of the peace places a defendant on probation, the court or the justice of the peace may impose any specific conditions reasonably related to the defendant’s rehabilitation, including but not limited to the conditions of probation as set forth in Code of Criminal Procedure Article 895. A term of probation shall not exceed the length of time a defendant may be imprisoned for the contempt, except in the case of contempt for disobeying an order for the payment of child support or spousal support or an order for the right of custody or visitation, when the term of probation may extend for a period of up to two years.

LA-C.C.P. Art. 225 Same; procedure for punishing

A. Except as otherwise provided by law, a person charged with committing a constructive contempt of court may be found guilty thereof and punished therefore only after the trial by the judge of a rule against him to show cause why he should not be adjudged guilty of contempt and punished accordingly. The rule to show cause may issue on the court’s own motion or on motion of a party to the action or proceeding and shall state the facts alleged to constitute the contempt. A person charged with committing a constructive contempt of a court of appeal may be found guilty thereof and punished therefore after receiving a notice to show cause, by brief, to be filed not less than forty-eight hours from the date the person receives such notice why he should not be found guilty of contempt and punished accordingly. The person so charged shall be granted an oral hearing on the charge if he submits a written request to the clerk of the appellate court within forty-eight hours after receiving notice of the charge. Such notice from the court of appeal may be sent by registered or certified mail or may be served by the sheriff. In all other cases, a certified copy of the motion, and of the rule to show cause, shall be served upon the person charged with contempt in the same manner as a subpoena at least forty-eight hours before the time assigned for the trial of the rule.

B. If the person charged with contempt is found guilty the court shall render an order reciting the facts constituting the contempt, adjudging the person charged with contempt guilty thereof, and specifying the punishment imposed.

71. SUSPENSION OF LICENSES FOR NONPAYMENT

OF CHILD SUPPORT

LA-R.S. 9:315.30 Family financial responsibility; purpose

The legislature finds and declares that child support is a basic legal right of the state’s parents and children, that mothers and fathers have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children, and that child support payments can have a substantial impact on child poverty and state welfare expenditures. It is therefore the legislature’s intent to facilitate the establishment of paternity and child support orders and encourage payment of child support to decrease overall costs to the state’s taxpayers while increasing the amount of financial support collected for the state’s children. To this end, the courts of this state are authorized to suspend certain licenses of individuals who are found to be in contempt of court for failure to comply with a subpoena or warrant in a child support or paternity proceeding or who are not in compliance with a court order of child support.

LA-R.S. 9:315.31 Definitions

As used in this Subpart:

(1) “Board” means any agency, board, commission, or office, public or private, that issues any license for activity specified in Paragraph (6) of this Section.

(2) “Compliance with an order of support” means that the support obligor is no more than ninety days in arrears in making payments in full for current support or in making periodic payments as set forth in a court order of support, and has obtained or maintained health insurance coverage if required by an order of support.

(3) “Contempt of court” means that a person has been found guilty of a direct contempt of court for a contumacious failure to comply with a subpoena, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Article 222(5), or a constructive contempt of court for willful disobedience of a lawful order of the court, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Article 224(2), in or ancillary to a child support or paternity proceeding.

(4) “Court” means any court exercising jurisdiction over the determination of child support, paternity, or criminal neglect of family proceedings.

(5) “Department” means the Department of Social Services when rendering child support enforcement services in TANF or non-TANF cases .

(6) “License” means any license, certification, registration, permit, approval, or other similar document evidencing admission to or granting authority for any of the following:

(a) To engage in a profession, occupation, business, or industry.

 

(b) To operate a motor vehicle.

(c) To participate in any sporting activity, including fishing and hunting.

(7) “Licensee” means any individual holding a license, certification, registration, permit, approval, or other similar document evidencing admission to or granting authority to engage in any activity specified in Paragraph (6) hereof. The term “licensee” may be used interchangeably with “obligor” .

(8) “Obligee” means any person to whom an award of child support is owed and may include the department.

(9) “Obligor” means any individual legally obligated to support a child or children pursuant to an order of support. The term “obligor” may be used interchangeably with “licensee” .

(10) “Order of support” means any judgment or order for the support of dependent children issued by any court of this state or another state, including any judgment or order issued in accordance with an administrative procedure established by state law that affords substantial due process and is subject to judicial review.

(11) “Suspension” means a temporary revocation of a license for an indefinite period of time or the denial of an application for issuance or renewal of a license.

LA-R.S. 9:315.32 Order of suspension of license; noncompliance with support order; contempt of court

A. (1)(a) In or ancillary to any action to make past-due child support executory, for contempt of court for failure to comply with an order of support, or a criminal neglect of family proceeding, the court on its own motion or upon motion of an obligee or the department shall, unless the court determines good cause exists, issue an order of suspension of a license or licenses of any obligor who is not in compliance with an order of child support. The court shall give specific written and oral reasons supporting its determination of good cause including a finding as to the particular facts and circumstances that warrant a determination not to suspend a license or licenses of an obligor who is not in compliance with an order of child support. The reasons shall become part of the record of the proceeding.

(b) An order suspending a license to operate a motor vehicle may provide specific time periods for the suspension at the court’s discretion.

(2) In or ancillary to any child support or paternity proceeding, the court on its own motion or upon motion of any party or the department may issue an order of suspension of a license of any person who is guilty of contempt of court for failure to comply with a subpoena or warrant. Provided that before the issuance of an order for a suspension of a license of any person in, or ancillary to, any paternity proceeding where paternity has not yet been established, the court shall notify such person by personal service.

B. The order of suspension shall contain the name, address, and social security number of the obligor, if known, and shall indicate whether the suspension is for a particular, specified license, or all licenses which the obligor may possess, or any combination thereof at the discretion of the court.

C. An order of suspension may include a provision whereby the obligor is required to disclose to the court information concerning the types of licenses which the obligor possesses, which written disclosure when attached to the order of suspension becomes a part thereof.

LA-R.S. 9:315.33 Suspension of license; notice of suspension from licensing board; temporary license

A. Within thirty days of receipt of a certified order of suspension of license for noncompliance with an order of support or contempt of court, sent by first class mail from either the court or the attorney representing the obligee, the board shall suspend all licenses which it issued to the obligor, or other person in contempt, or a particular license as specified in the order.

B. The board shall specify an exact date and hour of suspension, which date shall be within thirty days from the board’s receipt of the order of suspension, and shall promptly issue a notice of suspension informing the licensee of all of the following:

(1) His license has been suspended by order of the court, including the suit name, docket number, and court as indicated on the order.

(2) The effective date of the suspension.

(3) To apply for reinstatement, the obligor must obtain an order of compliance from the court.

(4) Any other information prescribed by the board.

C. Upon being presented with a court order of partial compliance and at the request of an obligor whose motor vehicle operator’s license, permit, or privilege has been suspended under this Subpart, the office of motor vehicles may issue the obligor a temporary license valid for a period not to exceed one hundred twenty days.

LA-R.S. 9:315.34 Subsequent compliance; order of compliance; order of partial compliance

A. (1) An obligor is in subsequent compliance with an order of support when all of the following occur:

(a) The obligor is up to date with current child support payments.

(b) All past-due support has been paid or, if periodic payment for past-due support has been ordered by the court, the obligor is making such payments in accordance with the court order.

(c) The obligor has fulfilled the required health insurance provisions, if any, in the order of support.

(2) A person is in subsequent compliance with a subpoena or court order when the court rescinds the order of contempt.

B. (1) Upon motion of an obligor who is in subsequent compliance with an order of support and after a contradictory hearing or upon rescission of an order of contempt, the court shall issue an order of compliance indicating that the obligor is eligible to have all licenses reissued. In cases where the department is providing support enforcement services, the court shall issue an ex parte order of compliance upon filing of written certification by the department that the obligor is in compliance.

(2) At the request of an obligor or other individual for whom an undue financial hardship will occur or has occurred as a result of the loss of his driver’s license and upon a showing of good faith, the court may issue an order of partial compliance authorizing the issuance of a temporary license in accordance with R.S. 9:315.33(C).

72. RE-ISSUANCE OF LICENSE AFTER PAYMENT
OF CHILD SUPPORT

LA-R.S. 9:315.35 Re-issuance of license

A. A board shall issue, reissue, renew, or otherwise extend an obligor’s or other individual’s license in accordance with the board’s rules upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of compliance from the court.

B. After receipt of an order of compliance, the board may waive any of its applicable requirements for issuance, reissuance, renewal, or extension if it determines that the imposition of that requirement places an undue burden on the person and that waiver of the requirement is consistent with the public interest.

73. CRIMINAL NEGLECT OF FAMILY

LA-R.S. 14:74 Criminal neglect of family

A. (1) Criminal neglect of family is the desertion or intentional nonsupport:

(a) By a spouse of his or her spouse who is in destitute or necessitous circumstances; or

(b) By either parent of his minor child who is in necessitous circumstances, there being a duty established by this Section for either parent to support his child.

(2) Each parent shall have this duty without regard to the reasons and irrespective of the causes of his living separate from the other parent. The duty established by this Section shall apply retrospectively to all children born prior to the effective date of this Section.

(3) For purposes of this Subsection, the factors considered in determining whether “necessitous circumstances” exist are food, shelter, clothing, health, and with regard to minor children only, adequate education, including but not limited to public, private, or home schooling, and comfort.

B. (1) Whenever a husband has left his wife or a wife has left her husband in destitute or necessitous circumstances and has not provided means of support within thirty days thereafter, his or her failure to so provide shall be only presumptive evidence for the purpose of determining the substantive elements of this offense that at the time of leaving he or she intended desertion and nonsupport. The receipt of assistance from the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) shall constitute only presumptive evidence of necessitous circumstances for purposes of proving the substantive elements of this offense. Physical incapacity which prevents a person from seeking any type of employment constitutes a defense to the charge of criminal neglect of family.

(2) Whenever a parent has left his minor child in necessitous circumstances and has not provided means of support within thirty days thereafter, his failure to so provide shall be only presumptive evidence for the purpose of determining the substantive elements of this offense that at the time of leaving the parent intended desertion and nonsupport. The receipt of assistance from the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) shall constitute only presumptive evidence of necessitous circumstances for the purpose of proving the substantive elements of this offense. Physical incapacity which prevents a person from seeking any type of employment constitutes a defense to the charge of criminal neglect of family.

C. Laws attaching a privilege against the disclosure of communications between husband and wife are inapplicable to proceedings under this Section. Husband and wife are competent witnesses to testify to any relevant matter.

D. (1) Whoever commits the offense of criminal neglect of family shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, and may be placed on probation pursuant to R.S. 15:305.

(2) If a fine is imposed, the court shall direct it to be paid in whole or in part to the spouse or to the tutor or custodian of the child, to the court approved fiduciary of the spouse or child, or to the Louisiana Department of Social Services in a FITAP or Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program case or in a non-FITAP or Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program case in which the said department is rendering services, whichever is applicable; hereinafter, said payee shall be referred to as the “applicable payee.” In addition, the court may issue a support order, after considering the circumstances and financial ability of the defendant, directing the defendant to pay a certain sum at such periods as the court may direct. This support shall be ordered payable to the applicable payee. The amount of support as set by the court may be increased or decreased by the court as the circumstances may require.

(3) The court may also require the defendant to enter into a recognizance, with or without surety, in order that the defendant shall make his or her personal appearance in court whenever required to do so and shall further comply with the terms of the order or of any subsequent modification thereof.

E. For the purposes of this Section, “spouse” shall mean a husband or wife.

LA-Ch.C. Art. 1353 CRIMINAL NEGLECT OF FAMILY; Support provisions; contempt; penalties

A. If the defendant violates the terms of the court order, the court, upon motion, may issue an order directing the defendant to show cause why he or she should not be found in contempt of court for failure to pay the court ordered support or maintain health care insurance, which rule shall be tried in a summary manner.

B. If on the hearing of such rule the court finds the accused guilty of contempt for failure to comply with the judgment of the court in paying the support assessed, the court may punish for such contempt as follows, either:

(1) The court may sentence the defendant to be imprisoned for not more than six months. The court in its discretion may suspend this term of imprisonment in whole or in part on condition that the defendant pay the total amount of unpaid support and obtain health care insurance in a manner to be determined by the court and on such other conditions as set by the court. If the court suspends the sentence in whole or in part, the court may place the defendant on probation under R.S. 15:305 with conditions of probation to be set by the court. In addition, the court may fine the defendant an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars to be paid to the applicable payee.

(2) The court may order the defendant to pay the total amount of unpaid support to the applicable payee and obtain health care insurance within a period of time fixed by the court. During this period of time, the defendant may be released upon giving bond for his appearance in court if he fails to comply with the order of the court within the period of time fixed. Should the defendant not pay the total amount of unpaid support which the court has ordered, the defendant shall be imprisoned for not more than six months.

C. Upon a second or subsequent finding of contempt, the court shall sentence the defendant to imprisonment for not more than six months. At the discretion of the judge, the sentence may be suspended by the court upon the occurrence of all of the following:

(1) Payment of the amount of unpaid support.

(2) Payment of the amount of unpaid support accrued since the date of the said order.

(3) Payment of the amount of all attendant court costs.

(4) Proof of health care insurance.

D. Upon recommendation of the state attorney or the support enforcement officer, or both, the remainder of the sentence may be suspended upon payment of a lesser amount, plus attendant court costs. Such payment shall apply toward but not extinguish the total amount due.

E. If the court finds the accused guilty of contempt, the court shall also render judgment directing the defendant to obtain health care insurance and to pay the total amount of unpaid support to the applicable payee, and attendant court costs. Such judgment for the payment of unpaid support and court costs shall have the same force and effect as a final judgment for money damages against the defendant. This judgment may be made executory by any Louisiana court of competent jurisdiction on petition of the department or the district attorney.

F. If the defendant has entered into a recognizance in the amount fixed by the court to insure the payment of the support and maintenance of health care insurance, the court may order the forfeiture of the recognizance and enforcement thereof by execution. The sum recovered shall be paid in whole or in part to the applicable payee. However, should the court order both the forfeiture of the recognizance and at the same time order the defendant to pay all unpaid support under the sentence for contempt, the amount of unpaid support plus attendant court costs and fines shall be the maximum payable.

74. WATCH OUT FOR CHILD SUPPORT BLACKMAIL

It is all too common for a spouse to threaten a custody battle unless the other spouse concedes to a lower child support, alimony, and/or property settlement. This blackmail should not be tolerated. Report these threats to your attorney. Any evidence of these threats also should be given to your attorney.

75. NEGOTIATING PAST DUE CHILD SUPPORT

Child support blackmail is despicable and should not be tolerated. On the other hand, a negotiation regarding the payment of past due child support is a common practice throughout the United States. Many proposals are accepted for a percentage of what is legally owed. It may be mutually beneficial to come to a compromise, rather than a lengthy and expensive court battle. Weigh your options and make an informed decision.

76. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

A Statute of Limitations is the time period in which one can no longer seek enforcement of a former child support award. In many states, if a parent avoids payment of past due child support for a period of time longer than the state’s statute of limitations, then that part of the child support obligation extending beyond the enforceable time period would be legally forgiven (exceptions do apply which your attorney can discuss with you in greater detail). For example, State “A” has a statute of limitations of five years. If the payer owes six years of back child support, then only the last five years of back child support would be legally collectible.

Some states have taken the enlightened view that a child support obligation is never excused by the mere passage of time.

Many states allow the child to pursue the past due child support after he or she reaches the age of majority.

77. HOW TO ENFORCE CHILD SUPPORT ABROAD

Although the United States does not have a treaty with any country regarding the enforcement of child support orders, many states have reciprocal arrangements with the following foreign countries:

Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Canada, Czech Republic, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales). Please see Appendix for the addresses and telephone numbers of proper contact for these countries.

Your first step in an attempt to get foreign enforcement of your child support award is to contact your state’s office of child support enforcement found in the Appendix.

If the parent who owes the child support lives and/or works abroad, yet works for a company based in the United States, or for the United States government, then you likely will be able to enforce your support order through your state’s office of child support enforcement or a private attorney in order to garnish wages.

78. IF NO RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT EXISTS WITH YOUR STATE AND THE FOREIGN COUNTRY, RETAIN A FOREIGN ATTORNEY

You may be able to retain a foreign attorney on a contingency basis. The United States Department Office of American Citizens Services can provide you with a listing of English speaking foreign attorneys. Furthermore, many countries have “Legal Aid” services. Call and/or write for the address and telephone number of the applicable foreign embassy in Washington, D.C. Additionally, the International Social Service (ISS) may be able to lend you assistance. The ISS can be contacted at the following:

International Social Service
10 W. 40th Street

New York, NY 10018
(212) 532-6350

79. CONTACT THE FOREIGN-BASED EMPLOYER

Additional pressure can be levied by sending a certified translated copy of outstanding child support orders to the deadbeat’s employer. A list of company presidents and other individuals in the corporate hierarchy may be found by consulting with a branch of the company and by using business directories such as Standard and Poor’s and Dunn & Bradstreet.

Standards and Poor (http://www.stockinfo.standardpoor.com/)

Dunn & Bradstreet (http://dbisna.com/dbis/dbishome.htm)

80. COLLECT SUPPORT FROM A PARENT WHO IS SERVING ABOARD IN THE UNITED STATES MILITARY OR WHO IS A U.S. MILITARY RETIREE RESIDING ABROAD

Your state child support enforcement office or private attorney can contact the United States Armed Forces.

For Garnishment: Contact the Pentagon at (703) 545-6700 and you will be directed to the appropriate Judge Advocate General’s office. Please refer to: http://www.jagc.army.mil/jagc2.htm

For Service of Process on Military Personnel: contact the Judge Advocate General’s office for the appropriate branch of the armed forces.

Contact the following:

Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Office: http://www.ja.hq.af.mil

Army Judge Advocate General’s Office: http://21taacom.army.mil/aerja/

Navy Judge Advocate General’s Office: http://www.jag.navy.mil

82. LOCATE MILITARY PERSONNEL

To locate a person in the United States Armed Forces contact the following:

Air Force
Headquarters
AFMPC/DPMD003
Attn: Worldwide Locator

Randolph Air Force Base, TX 78150-6001

(210) 652-5774

Army

Commander
U.S. Army EREC

Army Worldwide Locator Service
Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana 46249-5301
(317) 542-4211

Coast Guard

Commandant

United States Coast Guard
Coast Guard Locator Service
GPE 3-45 (Enlisted Personnel)
GPE-42 (Officers)
2100 2nd Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20593
(202) 267-1615 (Enlisted Personnel)
(202) 267-1667 (Officers)

Marine Corps
Commander of the Marine Corps
Code MMRB-10
Attn: Locator Service
Washington, D.C. 20380-0001
(202) 694-1610

Navy
Naval Military Personnel Command
Navy Annex
Washington, D.C. 20370
(202) 694-3155

The above is an excerpt from Louisiana Divorce Handbook (Available on Amazon.com), with Express Permission of Author Louisiana Family Law Attorney Stephen Rue. @ All Rights Reserved, Stephen Rue 2014.

To schedule a CONSULTATION with Family Law Attorney STEPHEN RUE, contact us at StephenRue@me.com or call (24 hours a day/night). 504-529-5000.

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Stephen Rue & Associates Law Firm serves the entire state of Louisiana. Our Louisiana lawyers routinely represent clients regarding legal matters in New Orleans, Gretna, Kenner, Metairie, Covington, Slidell, Abita Springs, Westwego, Harvey, Algiers, Harahan, River Ridge, Destrehan, Hahnville, Boutte, Houma, Belle Chasse, Lafitte, LaPlace, Chalmette, Westbank, Eastbank, Causeway Bridge, I-10, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish and other areas of Louisiana.

Please contact our Louisiana divorce attorneys at StephenRue@me.comor call (24 hours a day/night). 504-529-5000.

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