Louisiana Child Custody and Support Guidelines:
If the parents agree who is to have custody, the court shall award custody in accordance with their agreement unless the best interest of the child requires a different award. In the absence of agreement, or if the agreement is not in the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to the parents jointly; however, if custody in one parent is shown by clear and convincing evidence to serve the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to that parent. The court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the best interest of the child. Such factors may include:
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child.
- The capacity and disposition of each party to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child.
- The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment.
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
- The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.
- The mental and physical health of each party.
- The home, school, and community history of the child.
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.
- The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party.
- The distance between the respective residences of the parties.
- The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.
[Based on Louisiana Civil Code - Articles 132 and 134]CHILD SUPPORT:
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. 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. The total child support obligation shall be determined by adding together the basic child support obligation, the net child care costs, the cost of health insurance premiums, extraordinary medical expenses, and other extraordinary expenses.
In all new child support orders after January 1, 1994, that are not being enforced by the Department of Social 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. [Based on Louisiana Civil Code - Article 142 and Louisiana Revised Statutes - RS 9:303, 315.2, 315.8 and 315.19]