People usually end up in court for legal issues within their family. The majority of these legal matters typically have to do with child custody and child support. For residents of Louisiana, the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) division of the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is available to help.

Who Needs to Pay Child Support?

In Louisiana, child support is determined by the Child Support Award Guidelines, which is based on the total income of both parents, and has to be paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. However, if there is joint custody the court will consider how much time the child spends with each parent to figure out child support so that the parents both contribute their fair share to the financial care of the child.

How Can I Petition for Child Support?

You can set up a child support order through the court, filling out an application online at LA CAFÉ, or by contacting your local CSE office. It would be helpful and speed up the process if you can provide information to find the noncustodial parent. The more information you can provide on the other parent, the easier it will be for the court or enforcement office to set up your child support order. However, if you have not established the paternity of your child, or are having difficulty locating the child’s other parent, CSE can provide you with assistance in determining and finding the other parent.

What If I Fail to Pay Child Support?

If you do not pay child support, there are a number of different enforcement techniques the Louisiana may use against you. The state can take the child support right out of your wages, or use state and federal tax refunds to pay the support you owe. If the state wants to punish you for being delinquent in your payment, you can be held in contempt of court and arrested. You can also lose your driver's license, vehicle registration, and passport.

Will Not Paying Impact My Visitation?

A parent has rights to visitation and custody with their child, even if they do not pay child support. If visitation is being denied, you have the right to go to court and demand that your visitation schedule be upheld.

How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

If you think you should stop paying child support, you will need to discuss it with a lawyer. Do not make this decision on your own because you can face serious legal consequences, as previously discussed. Before child support is ordered, you have the right to prove through a paternity test that you are not the parent. You can also try to make an agreement with the other parent to stop paying or reduce child support.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

Since child support can be such an expensive and important part of your life, it is important to find the right legal representation. If you are facing problem with either trying to get child support or paying child support, contact a Louisiana family law lawyer.