Louisiana's child support guidelines don't include any precise rules regarding a non-custodial parent who works overtime to make ends meet. Instead, the issue is largely up to the discretion of the judge calculating your support order. He can take two factors into consideration when deciding whether to include overtime as part of your income.
Louisiana's Child Support Formula
Louisiana calculates child support based on the number of children you have and the combined adjusted gross income of you and their other parent. For instance, if you and your children's other parent collectively earn $5,000 per month in adjusted gross income, Louisiana's guidelines state that $1,349 of that amount goes to support of your children if you have three of them. If you earn $3,000 of the $5,000, and their other parent earns $2,000, then you are responsible for 60 percent of the $1,349 and she is responsible for 40 percent. Therefore, your child support payment would be $809.40 per month, 60 percent of $1,349. Your children's other parent makes her 40 percent contribution directly to the care of the children if she is the custodial parent.
Frequency of Overtime
If $600 of your $3,000 monthly gross adjusted income comes from overtime or a second job, and if you earn it consistently from month to month, a judge will most likely include it in your income when calculating your child support payment. However, Louisiana's statutes do allow a judge to disregard the overtime and set your income at $2,400 instead of $3,000 if the overtime came from seasonal employment or some other extraordinary circumstance. The judge must decide, based on his own opinion, if it would be "inequitable" to charge you with a child support payment over an extended period of time that includes overtime pay if you can't expect to earn that much every month.
Purpose of Overtime
Louisiana judges may also consider what you're earning the overtime for. For instance, if you or your ex want the court to recalculate child support because circumstances have changed, and you're earning $600 in overtime every month but you've remarried and had other children, a judge does not have to include it in your adjusted gross income. However, you'd have the burden of proof to convince the judge that the extra $600 goes toward providing for your new spouse and children.
Even if the court includes your overtime income when calculating your child support payment, other factors can potentially help balance that. For instance, if you pay health insurance premiums on behalf of the children, if your children earn any wages of their own, or if you pay child support or alimony due to a previous marriage or relationship, these things can potentially be subtracted from your adjusted gross income. If any of these factors apply to you, speak to an attorney to find out how they might affect your overall child support obligation.
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