Child Custody And Child Support

Many parents getting divorced are most concerned about maintaining a strong relationship with their children and figuring out how to provide for their needs after the divorce. I am Gregory S. Johnson, an experienced Baton Rouge family law attorney who can work with you to achieve both of these important goals.

Calculating Child Support

In general, child custody laws in Louisiana follow the guideline of seeking whatever arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Child support, meanwhile, follows a formula developed by the state that factors in both parents' income, child care costs, the cost of health insurance premiums and more.

Louisiana uses the "incomes shares" model to determine child support, meaning that the level of support is calculated using the combined adjusted gross incomes of both parents.

Protecting Your Relationship With Your Child

Louisiana courts consider a number of factors when determining where a child should live. These include:

  • The home, school and community history of the child
  • The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party
  • The physical and mental health of the child and both parents
  • The moral fitness of each parent
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference

It is necessary to determine both physical custody — where the child will spend his time — and legal custody — who will make major decisions regarding education, medical matters and religion. Both physical and legal custody can be shared.

Louisiana courts prefer parents to negotiate an agreement pertaining to custody. Protracted custody battles can be stressful and anxiety-provoking for children, and strain their relationships with both parents. I will review your situation and help you set realistic expectations for what a parenting plan will look like.

If you are unable to reach an agreement with your child's other parent on one or more issues pertaining to child custody, both parents will likely be assigned to attend mediation to attempt to come to terms before the court steps in.

I Can Assist You With Enforcement Or Defend You Against Contempt Charges

Once the court has awarded child support to the custodial parent, the other parent must make the support payments following the court orders. A parent who fails to make support payments is considered to be in contempt of court. The court can impose a jail sentence of up to 90 days, a fine of up to $500 or both.

I work with individuals to enforce child support orders or defend parents against contempt of court charges for not paying for child support.

I also assist clients with petitions for custody or visitation modification or child support modification. Potential grounds for a change of custody may include either parent relocating, abuse, neglect, or drug or alcohol dependence by a parent or someone living in the same household with a parent.

Contact Me Today

I invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. These are important decisions that will impact the rest of your life. Don't attempt to navigate the complex matters of child custody and child support without an experienced Baton Rouge family law lawyer.