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Louisiana Child Support Definitions

Definitions

(1) "Adjusted gross income" means gross income, minus amounts for preexisting child support or spousal support obligations paid to another who is not a party to the proceedings, or on behalf of a child who is not the subject of the action of the court.

(2) "Combined adjusted gross income" means the combined adjusted gross income of both parties.

(3) "Extraordinary medical expenses" means uninsured expenses over one hundred dollars for a single illness or condition. It includes but is not limited to reasonable and necessary costs for orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatment, physical therapy, uninsured chronic health problems, and professional counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders.

(4) "Gross income" means:

(a) The income from any source, including but not limited to salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, and spousal support received from a preexisting spousal support obligation;

(b) Expense reimbursement of in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business, if the reimbursements or payments are significant and reduce the parent’s personal living expenses. Such payments include but are not limited to a company car, free housing, or reimbursed meals; and

(c) Gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income, for purposes of income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership or a partnership or closely held corporation. "Ordinary and necessary expenses" shall not include amounts allowable by the Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support.

(d) As used herein, "gross income" does not include:

(i) Child support received, or benefits received from public assistance programs, including aid to families with dependent children, supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance.

ii) Per diem allowances which are not subject to federal income taxation under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

(iii) Extraordinary overtime or income attributed to seasonal work regardless of its percentage of gross income when, in the court’s discretion, the inclusion thereof would be inequitable to a party.

(5) "Health insurance premiums" means the actual amount paid by a party for providing health insurance on behalf of the child. It does not include any amount paid by an employer or any amounts paid for coverage of any other persons. If more than one dependent is covered by health insurance which is paid through a lump-sum dependent-coverage premium, and not all of such dependents are the subject of the guidelines calculation, the cost of the coverage shall be prorated among the dependents covered before being applied to the guidelines.


(6) "Income" means:

(a) Actual gross income of a party, if the party is employed to full capacity; or

(b) Potential income of a party, if the party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. A party shall not be deemed voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if he or she is absolutely unemployable or incapable of being employed, or if the unemployment or the underemployment results through no fault or neglect of the party.

(c) The court may also consider as income the benefits a party derives from expense-sharing or other sources; however, in determining the benefits of expense-sharing, the court shall not consider the income of another spouse, regardless of the legal regime under which the
remarriage exists, except to the extent that such income is used directly to reduce the cost of a party’s actual expenses.

(7) "Net child care costs" means the reasonable costs of child care incurred by a party due to employment or job search, minus the value of the federal income tax credit for child care.

Deviation from Guidelines by Court

A. The guidelines set forth in this Part are to be used in any proceeding to establish or modify child support filed on or after October 1, 1989. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support obtained by use of the guidelines set forth in this Part is the proper amount of child support.

B. The court may deviate from the guidelines set forth in this Part if their application would not be in the best interest of the child or would be inequitable to the parties. The court shall give specific oral or written reasons for the deviation, including a finding as to the amount of support that would have been required under a mechanical application of the guidelines and the particular facts and circumstances that warranted a deviation from the guidelines. The reasons shall be made part of the record of the proceedings.

(1) The legal obligation of a party to support dependents who are not the subject of the action before the court and who are in that party’s household.

(2) The extraordinary medical expenses of a party, or extraordinary medical expenses for which a party may be responsible, not otherwise taken into consideration under the guidelines.

(3) An extraordinary community debt of the parties.

(4) The need for immediate and temporary support for a child when a full hearing on the issue of support is pending but cannot be timely held. In such cases, the court at the full hearing shall use the provisions of this part and may redetermine support without the necessity of a change of circumstances being shown; or

(5) The permanent or temporary total disability of a spouse to the extent such disability diminishes his present and future earning capacity, his need to save adequately for uninsurable future medical costs, and other additional costs associated with such disability, such as transportation and mobility costs, medical expenses, and higher insurance premiums.

(6) Any other consideration which would make application of the guidelines not in the best interest of the child or children or inequitable to the parties.