Child Support

New Orleans Child Support Lawyers

Fighting to protect your children in New Orleans, Slidell, and across Louisiana

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It is not easy to talk about money. That is why the discussion of child support can often be a point of contention during divorce or custody proceedings. It is important to keep the children and their needs in sight and to remember this is in the best interest of the children.

At the Law Offices of James. A. Graham, we work to ensure that child’s best interests are met at every turn, and that your co-parent pays what he or she owes in child support. Our New Orleans attorneys can help you enforce and modify existing orders, create new parenting plans, and ensure that local courts know that your interests are aligned fully with your child’s best interests. Call us in New Orleans or Slidell today to get started.

What does child support pay for?

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Raising a child is expensive. Your child needs a home, food, clothes, medical care, books for school, transportation to school and events, and many other financial needs. Child support is supposed to help cover these costs so that the primary custodial parent is not responsible for all of the expenses.

To this end, child support may also be used to offset the costs of bills (like electric or gas) as well as vacations – even vacations the paying parent is not invited to attend. At its heart, child support should help your children continue to live the same type of lifestyle they had before the divorce.

Who gets child support in New Orleans?

Typically, child support is awarded to the domiciliary parent, which means both unmarried and divorced parents are entitled to these payments. In some cases, a legal guardian (like a grandparent) may be awarded child support if he or she has legal custody of the children.

How is child support determined in New Orleans?

While parents can negotiate the terms of child support and reach an agreement on their own, when no agreement can be reached the courts has the authority to enter a child support order. The parameters for the calculation of child support through the Child Support Guidelines include the following:

  • Each parent’s adjusted gross income determines what each parent is capable of paying. This number is an individual’s gross income - minus any child support being paid from a prior relationship and minus any spousal support obligations from a prior relationship.
  • The number of children involved.
  • The healthcare and childcare costs for the child.
  • The amount of any school tuition or other school expenses.
  • The extracurricular activities of the child.
  • Other miscellaneous expenses.
  • The child custody agreement including the amount of time each parent spends with the kids.

Our New Orleans child support lawyers will explain the conditions that must be met for a non-domiciliary parent to claim the child as a dependent for federal and state income tax purposes.

Can You Help Protect My Children

Can a child support order be modified in New Orleans?

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Child Support

Both your children’s needs and a parent’s circumstances can change over time. For this reason, child support arrangements can also be modified. If the noncustodial parent is not earning what he/she previously  was (usually by no fault of their own) and cannot afford to pay, the issue can be brought back to court. We can help you challenge the amount ordered based on these factors and more.

When circumstances change and you need a modification of child support, you must show “a material change in the circumstances since the time of the previous award and the request for a modification of the award.” If the court cannot find that something significant has happened that affects the payments between the initial child support agreement and your request, the request can be denied.

Changes that could cause a change in the amount of the New Orleans child support order include:

  • The loss of a job or a promotion
  • Changes in the obligor’s health status which affects the ability to earn a living

Generally, remarriage by either spouse does not affect the amount of child support due. Relocating to a new home also should not affect the amount of child support due. For the most part, courts focus on the income of the parents and the needs of the children – not the expenses of the parents.

There are many issues that might affect the initial child support agreement. It is important for both parents to be aware of this and regularly review the arrangement.

What if my ex stops paying child support?

Sometimes a parent will not abide by the Judgment and won’t pay the court-ordered child support. If this happens, and he or she is not paying as required by the court order,    he or she is in violation of that court order and can be held accountable. The court may order income assignment (AKA, wage garnishment) to pay back any past support. Any state or federal tax refunds could be directed to the receiving parents, as could any lottery winnings.

Potential penalties for non-paying parents

Parents who violate child support orders can also face additional penalties, including:

  • Loss of driver’s license
  • Loss of professional license
  • Contempt of court charges
  • Jail time
  • Loss of vehicle registration
  • Fines and fees

Understand, too, that Louisiana keeps a running public, searchable list of parents who are delinquent in their child support payments, as well as how much they owe. Potential employers can and do search this list, which means failure to pay can also result in loss of reputation and potential employment. This is why it is in payor parents’ best interests to seek modification if they can no longer make their child support payments.

Why you cannot deny custody for late or missing payments

If you are the domiciliary parent and your co-parent is not paying support, you cannot withhold access to your children in response. Child custody, like child support, is court ordered. Violating the order can result in many of the same penalties, which means you, too, could land in hot water with a Judge.

Do you have a child support lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two office locations in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Speak with our skilled New Orleans child support lawyers now

Your children’s needs can’t wait. They need to eat now. They need new shoes now. Custodial parents have the right to obtain fair support orders for their children. Non-custodial parents should pay their fair share. Parents should not use disagreements about child custody to hold back on child support – your children come first. If the child support is not being paid, turn to the skilled family law attorneys at the Law Office of James A. Graham, LLC. We proudly serve individuals and families in New Orleans, Slidell, and the surrounding areas. To get started today, please call or fill out our contact form.