Bill to change Louisiana’s child support laws advances
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Currently, Louisiana’s child support law prohibits courts from setting a mandatory minimum child support payment of less than $100 with the exception of shared or split custody or a medical disability.
The federal government says this is in conflict with what it should be. To put us back in compliance, Representative Barbara Carpenter’s bill would change the law to allow a judge to set the minimum payment amount based on the evidence presented in each case.
“So, we’re still going to present the evidence, everything is going to go according to how everything was before. This just gives the judge or the hearing officer the discretion to set the judgment under $100 if that’s what I present to them,” said Toni Menard with the District Attorney’s Association, who was testifying in committee.
Secretary for DCFS Terri Ricks tells me if we fail to fix our laws then we will miss out on crucial federal dollars.
“We would be at risk of losing the federal funding and that equals up to about a quarter of a billion dollars a year of funding with the TANF grant, the Temporary Assistance or any families grant, as well as the child support federal dollars,” said Ricks.
“These funds are used for family support and reunification and provide critical resources to at-risk families across Louisiana,” added Lonnie Granier with the Odyssey House LA, who also testified.
Other things that could face funding issues would be money for pre-K, child protection investigations, and even programs for domestic violence prevention and homelessness, and several others.
Since the bill wouldn’t really make any procedural changes to the courts, nobody on the panel was opposed to passing it out of committee.
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