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Child Support Enforcement Services Provided
As well as working with all DCFS programs and various state agencies, Child Support Enforcement receives information from the Federal Parent Locator Service, which provides information on those receiving Social Security or Veterans pensions and those working or contracting with the Federal government, including military personnel. Louisiana also belongs to the Electronic Parent Locate Network (EPLN), a consortium of 18 states that combine information into one database.
Custodial parents can use Child Support Enforcement locator services for a $10 fee with the non-custodial parent’s Social Security number (SSN) or a $14 fee without the SSN.
The U.S. Treasury Department charges a fee of $122.50 for Full-Service Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Collection. This method of collection uses the full powers of the IRS to collect past due child support, including withholding federal income tax refunds, collecting personally from the payer, or collecting from the payer’s income or assets. The service is available only in cases enforced under Title IV-D.
Under Louisiana law, a father of a child born outside of marriage is not responsible for child support payments until paternity has been established. This can be done in two ways.
- Affidavit of Acknowledgment
The father can sign an affidavit acknowledging that he is the father of the child. Hospital personnel is required to provide parents of children born outside of marriage the opportunity to sign an acknowledgment of paternity at the time of birth
- Court Proceedings
If an alleged father refuses to sign an acknowledgment of paternity, Child Support Enforcement attorneys or contract District Attorneys may file a paternity suit asking the court to determine paternity.
Genetic Testing -- Prior to signing an acknowledgment of paternity, an alleged father is strongly encouraged to request a paternity test to establish beyond question that he is the biological father of the child. Child Support Enforcement contracts with two genetic testing laboratories and paternity tests cost $62.00 per person. In Louisiana, the probability of paternity must be 99.9% or higher. This is the highest probability requirement in the nation and provides for a higher accuracy rate in determining paternity.
Child Support Enforcement works within established Child Support Award Guidelines and with the courts to determine the amount of child support non-custodial parents must pay.
The Legislature established the Child Support Award Guidelines based on the income of both parties. The non-custodial parent is required to pay an amount based on his/her percentage of the total income and specific needs and expenses of the child. In cases of joint custody, the court shall consider the amount of time the child spends with each parent as a basis for adjustment to the amount of child support to be paid during that period of time.
- Guidelines for Determination of Child Support (LS4-R.S. 9:315 et seq.).
The guidelines are based on the estimated costs of raising a child at various income levels, taking into account the number of children in the household. Louisiana Revised Statute 9:315.1(B) allows the court to deviate from the guideline schedule if the 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.
The basic child support obligation is calculated considering the following factors:
- The amount of any preexisting court order for child support and spousal support paid is deducted from the gross income of the non-custodial parent.
- Net child care costs incurred due to employment or job search (minus the value of the federal tax credit for child care) or reasonable child care expenses incurred while either parent is receiving job training or education necessary to obtain employment or enhance earning potential can be added to the basic obligation.
- If either parent carries health insurance for the child(ren) due support, the cost of that coverage is added to the basic child support obligation.
- A provision may also be made for extraordinary expenses of a child, such as medical or special or private schooling needs, by agreement of the parties or order of the court.
Gross income includes income from any source, including 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 pre-existing spousal support obligation.
The gross income of each parent should be used when determining a child support award as specified below and entered on Line 1 of the Obligation Worksheet. The income of a spouse is not considered in this calculation.
Child Support Enforcement can enforce payment of support by:
- Income assignment
- Interception of state and federal tax refunds
- Interception of lottery winnings
- Suspension of occupational, professional, drivers’, hunting and fishing licenses
- Suspension of motor vehicle registration
- Contempt of court hearings
- Passport denials
More than 65% of the money collected each year comes through the income assignment process.
Payments for child support are collected by the Centralized Collection Unit and posted Monday through Friday. Payments are distributed the day after they post.
A $25.00 annual fee will be imposed in each case where an individual has never received FITAP and for whom the State has collected at least $500.00 of support in a Federal Fiscal Year.
Payment Instructions -- All fees and support payments must be made payable to DCFS. The payer shall include his/her name, address, and social security number and/or LASES number on the payment instrument.
Child Support and Genetic Testing Fees
Payments should be made by money order or cashier’s check and mailed to:
Centralized Collection Unit
Post Office Box 260222
Baton Rouge, LA 70826
Genetic Testing fees should be identified as "Genetic Test" when submitted to the Centralized Collection Unit.
Applications and Application Fees
When submitting application fees, contact the appropriate Child Support Enforcement Offices serving your parish.
Jefferson Parish (including east Jefferson)
Mail application and application fee to:
Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office
Child Support Enforcement
1546 Gretna Blvd.
Harvey, LA 70058-5366
East Baton Rouge Parish
Mail application and application fee to:
East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office
233 St. Ferdinand Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
A note about Private Collection AgenciesThe following is information custodial parents should consider before hiring a Child Support Private Collection Agency (PCS).
A private collection agency (PCA) is a privately owned, for-profit business that, for a fee, helps custodial parents collect child support. Child Support Enforcement is not a party to any contract between the custodial parent and the PCA. The custodial parent is entitled to receive services with CSE even if the custodial parent hires a PCA. If the custodial parent is receiving public assistance, foster care maintenance, or Medicaid, CSE will be required to pursue child support enforcement on behalf of the custodial parent.
Most PCA's are paid on a "contingency fee" basis. This means that the custodial parent is required to pay the PCA for services provided. The PCA will take a percentage, generally from 25% to 33% of the child support it receives on the custodial parent's behalf. The custodial parent should get as much information about the PCA that they are considering and read their contract carefully before signing.
Private collection agencies are governed by LA R.S. 46:236.1.5 (D) and LA R.S. 51:1441-1448.
If CSE is notified that the CP has contracted with a private collection company or a private attorney, the CP will be advised that:
- All collections, whether generated by State effort or the effort of the private company, must be sent through the State by way of the Centralized Collection Unit (CCU).
- CSE will continue to disburse all payments to the CP and that no re-direction of payments can be made to the private collection company.
- CSE will only release information to the CP.
- Any request for closure must be received directly from the CP.
Customer Service CenterThe CSE Customer Service Center (CSC) provides customer service solutions, including a toll-free number, an automated voice response (AVR) system, and customer service representatives (CSRs).
CSE Customer Service Centers
1-888-LAHELP-U (1-888-524-3578) (Toll Free)
1-844-224-6188 (Teletypewriter Hearing Impaired)
1-225-922-8100 (Baton Rouge Local)
The automated voice response system and accompanying script provide payment receipt and disbursement information (on last five payments), arrearages, current financial obligation balances as well as general child support information. AVR information is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Experienced customer service representatives trained to handle case-specific inquiries not addressed by the AVR can be accessed through the Customer Service Center numbers.