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Read on to learn about how child support works in Wisconsin, how payments are determined, deviations from normal child support payments.

Stay up to date on recent changes to child support laws in Wisconsin. Although no new legislation has been passed for 2022, we discuss important information about child support that you should know. Read on to learn about how child support works in Wisconsin, how payments are determined, deviations from normal child support payments.

What is Child Support in Wisconsin?

Child support arises in Wisconsin when the Court orders child support, usually after entering a judgment for divorce or judgment in a parental paternity court case. Child support is based on both parents’ financial information that is submitted to the court, and each parents’ educational levels obtained, each parents ability to provide for and pay child support through their job or other means such as investment portfolios, other relevant financial means, and other relevant factors that the court will determine. The parties, both parents, can stipulate to the amount of child support to be paid from one parent to the other parent as a specific percentage of the paying parents gross income. Usually only one parent pays child support, but the court in its discretion can order both parents to pay child support primarily looking at the best interests of the child. Both parents have a continuing duty to financially support their child or children until they reach age 18.  

Do I Have To Pay For My Child’s Health Insurance In Wisconsin?

In addition to determining child support amounts to be paid by one or both parents, both parents have a duty and obligation to provide health insurance for their child or children. The court may order one of the parents to be responsible for paying the health insurance costs of the child.

How Much Will I Pay In Child Support in Wisconsin?

The Percentage Standard for Sole Custody in Wisconsin

In the state of Wisconsin, the percentage rates for Child support are based on state statute. If a child or children primarily reside with one parent (primary) and the other parent is solely responsible for the child or children’s care through paying child support. Child support is calculated based on what is called the percentage standard, meaning that the paying parent’s gross income will be multiplied by the following child support standards provided by Wisconsin State Statute:

  1. 17% of gross income is multiplied by the paying parent’s gross income when there is only one child.
  1. 25% of gross income is multiplied by the paying parent’s gross income when there are two children.
  1. 29% of gross income is multiplied by the paying parent’s gross income when there are three children.
  1. 31% of gross income is multiplied by the paying parent’s gross income when there are four children.
  1. 34% of gross income is multiplied by the paying parent’s gross income when there are five children or more.

For example, Mom has primary custody of her five children that Dad fathered. Mom and Dad divorce, the Court will calculate child support using Dad’s monthly gross income of $5,000.00. Dad will pay Mom 34% of his monthly gross income to Mom for child support, which is $5,000.00 x 34% = $1,700.00, Dad will pay Mom $1,700.00 per month.

For more in-depth information on how child support is calculated in Wisconsin, read our article here.

*Note parents who have joint or shared custody of the child or children will have their child support calculated differently, compared to where only one parent has primary custody as listed above.  Generally speaking, joint custody child support is calculated based on the number of overnights a parent has with the children and other factors, that we will not address in this article. Contact one of our highly experienced and talented Family Law attorneys at O’Flaherty Law today to have a consultation for any child support issues you are facing.

Deviation From the Percentage Standard

Child support is almost always calculated on a percentage standard of the gross incomes of both parents. Sometimes, the percentage standard is not utilized when it would be unfair to one of the parents or child or children, if the Court in its discretion that it would be unfair to one of the parents or child or children, the Court will depart from the percentage standard and weigh the following factors:

  1. The child’s financial resources
  1. Both parent’s financial resources such as income from a job, savings, investments, and other financial accounts such as 401K accounts and pension accounts that may be available to the parents.
  1. Any spousal support (alimony) that one of the parents receives from the other.
  1. The needs of each parent to support themselves.
  1. If the parents were married the standard that the child would be accustomed to had the divorce not occurred.
  1. The need for a parent to remain in the real property as a full-time parent who does not work.
  1. The costs of child care such as daycare or the determination of the value of the parent staying at home to parent the child and not work.
  1. The periods that the child is present with both parents and whether or not both parents have custody.
  1. Physical mental emotional psychological needs of the child or children.
  1. The educational needs of the child.
  1. The cost of health insurance for the child.
  1. The tax situation for both parents.
  1. The earning capacity of the parents based on their job career education work experience and or ability to make income.
  1. Most importantly, the best interests of the child.

If the Court decides to deviate from the percentage standard for the computation of child support and that the percentage standard for child support payments is unfair to one of the parents or the child or children, the Court will make a finding on the record stating the amount that would have been calculated using the percentage standard and the amount that the court decided to deviate from the percentage standard based on weighing the above factors, and state its reasoning behind why it choose to do so.

If for any reason you need to modify your child support payments, there are ways to do so. Learn more about Modifying Child Support Payments In Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Trust Funds In Child Support

The Court can at its discretion place the child support funds or a portion of the child support funds in a trust fund for the support welfare education and well-being of the child or children.

How Long Will I have to Pay Child Support in Wisconsin?

Usually, the paying parent will have to pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority, which is 18 in Wisconsin. Sometimes, child support payments will end once the child reaches age 19, if the child is 19 and pursuing a high school diploma or GED program.

If your ex-spouse refuses to pay child support, they face consequences and potentially jail time. Learn more about What Happens If Your Ex-Spouse Refuses To Pay Child Support in Wisconsin.

You are not alone when facing divorce and child support issues. Our Wisconsin attorneys can help you every step of the way. If you need assistance on your child support issues, please feel free to give us a call at (630)-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form and a member of our team will be in touch with you.  

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