What’s fair? What’s normal? How much do I need? These questions might be racing through your head if you’re going through a divorce in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Divorce is overwhelming as it is – and unfamiliar factors like these can make it even more stressful. Thankfully, with some aspects of divorce, clarity can help decrease your stress. If you’re looking for peace of mind regarding your child support agreement, keep reading for some helpful tips!
What’s the Average Child Support Payment?
Child support is not only based on the idea that both parents are legally obligated to provide care for their children, but also on the concept that children deserve to have the same standard of living they would have had if their family unit had stayed intact.
According to the Census Bureau Reports, the average monthly child support payment is $430. But remember, this is just an average, and shouldn’t be used as a guideline to understand how much you should pay or receive in a child support agreement. When determining a fair and reasonable child support agreement that fits your specific situation, it’s important to have a divorce attorney’s guidance and personalized advice.
What Should You Ask For?
What you ask for depends on a number of factors, including how many children you have. Other factors will include the financial circumstances and responsibilities of both you and your ex (or soon-to-be-ex). You will also need to consider if any of your children have special needs or require above average expenses.
How Do Judges Decide Child Support Amounts?
In Louisiana, judges will calculate child support based on each parent’s monthly gross income. Gross income includes income from any source, and may include income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, recurring gifts, prizes, and spousal maintenance, according to Avvo.
After defining the income of both parents, judges determine child support by looking at the following information, according to USAttorneys:
- Who the custodial parent is
- How much time both the custodial and non-custodial parent spend with children.
- What are the tax ramifications of child support payments?
- Are there any deductions that can be used when calculating the child support amount?
Child support can also be calculated by the following factors:
- Child support or alimony either parent receives from a previous marriage
- Whether either parent is paying child support or alimony from a previous marriage
- Whether either parent is responsible for children from a previous (or subsequent) marriage
- Which parent is paying for health insurance, and the cost
- Which parent is paying daycare costs, and the cost
- Whether either parent is required to pay union dues or has other amounts deducted from paychecks
- Ages of the children
- Whether either parent receives irregular income such as bonuses or incentive pay or expects severance pay or other lump-sum payments, and
- Whether either parent lives with a new partner or spouse who contributes to household expenses.
How Can You Help Your Case?
When seeking a child support agreement that you believe is fair, one of the best things you can do to get the judges on your side is to come to court prepared with a detailed list of expenses needed to care for your child. By outlining the exact numbers you spend on your children (and why), you’re more likely to impress the judges with your caring and engaged parenting skills.
What If You Want To Modify Agreements?
Oftentimes, a change in circumstances regarding either your finances or your child custody arrangement can prompt a child support modification. Sometimes, you enter into a child support agreement that you later realize is unfair or insufficient to care for your child(ren). If this happens, it’s time to turn things around. At Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf we’re here to listen to you and find the best possible way forward for you as a parent.
How to Move Forward?
At Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf, we can help you calculate a child care payment that is fair, reasonable, and works for you! Remember to acknowledge that what is “normal” in the legal system may not be what’s best for your family. Actually, divorce experts at Fatherly advise that the “norm” isn’t what’s best for most families. That’s why it’s so important to break down the budget for your child’s needs and to create an agreement that meets those needs for your child.
Whether you’re already divorced, or going through a divorce now, we can help you and your children get the quality of life you deserve! Let us fight for your child support needs! Call 225-343-2205 or message us online.
3960 Government St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806