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Are you thinking about custody and child support?

Perhaps, you're under the impression that, if you share child custody with your ex, neither parent will have to pay child support. While these two topics often intersect in divorce proceedings, it's not necessarily true that a joint custody arrangement eliminates the need for child support in order to provide for any and all children in question.

The judge overseeing your case will ultimately determine whether you or your spouse should pay child support. If you share custody with your ex, it doesn't mean the court will not order child support, although the amount of payments may be less than if you or your ex gained sole custody of your children.

Standard of living

The court has your children's best interests in mind. When determining whether child support is necessary in a particular case, the court uses its discretion to hand down a ruling that allows the children involved to maintain the same standard of living to which they were accustomed when their parents were living in the same household.

To make such decisions, a Louisiana family court judge will carefully review your and your ex's current income, the number of children involved as well as each of your monthly expenses, especially regarding your children's needs.

Deviating from state guidelines

Most judges are able to deviate from state guidelines if a particular situation warrants it. However, in this state, parenting time is not equivalent to financial care. In some states, the court will modify child support obligations based on parenting time as well as income. Louisiana does not allow this.

Simplify the process

Child support issues can be complicated whether you and your ex share physical custody of your kids or one of you has sole custody. While there are state guidelines in place, no two cases are exactly alike. The judge overseeing your case has discretion to make decisions that have your children's unique needs in mind.

Financial issues are often an integral focus of custody proceedings. You'll fare best in court if you seek clarification of state laws ahead of time, possess a keen understanding of your current and expected future financial status, and obtain fully disclosed information regarding your ex's finances as well, as each of these issues may influence the court's decisions in your case. Also, keep in mind that the court can modify its custody and child support orders as it deems appropriate.

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