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How Is Child Support Calculated Under Wisconsin’s Guidelines?

 Posted on March 28, 2024 in Divorce

Milwaukee, WI child support lawyerIssues related to child support often play a crucial role in family law cases. The costs of raising children can be significant, and they should be shared by both parents. For those who are going through a divorce or who need to resolve child custody issues as unmarried parents, it is important to understand the methods that will be used to calculate child support under the guidelines provided in Wisconsin law. An experienced attorney can assist with these matters, ensuring that all factors are considered correctly when establishing child support obligations.

What Determines Child Support in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin's approach to child support is designed to ensure that both parents will contribute toward meeting their child’s needs based on their respective incomes. The State uses a percentage of income standard, which calculates support based on a percentage of the paying parent's gross income and the number of children being supported. In some cases, obligations may be calculated for both parents and offset based on the amount of physical placement (visitation) each parent will have with his or her child.

Per the Department of Children and Families, DCF 105.02(13), there are ten types of income that are considered gross income (salary and wages, Social Security, unemployment, and veteran’s disability are a few examples).  Therefore, it is important to have an attorney who researches the various types of income that are subject to child support payments to ensure your child receives everything she is entitled to.

The Percentage of Income Standard

Under this standard, the following percentages of a parent's gross income will be allocated for child support:

  • 17% for one child

  • 25% for two children

  • 29% for three children

  • 31% for four children

  • 34% for five or more children

Variations in Child Support Calculations

While the above percentages serve as a guideline, actual child support amounts can vary based on factors such as shared placement, the income of both parents, and the needs of the child. Situations where additional issues may affect child support include:

  • Shared placement: When both parents will provide care for a child for a substantial amount of time, additional calculations may be made to ensure that child support is allocated correctly between the parents. Shared placement includes any situations where a child will stay overnight with each parent at least 92 days per year. 

  • Equivalent care: Even if a child will not be staying with one parent for 92 overnights each year, the amount of time a parent spends caring for the child may be considered. If a parent spends substantial time caring for the child that would be equivalent to overnight stays, they may receive credit for this time, and child support may be calculated based on shared placement.

  • High-income parents: For parents who have incomes exceeding a certain threshold, different percentages may be used to calculate an appropriate amount of child support. In general, a parent is considered to have a high income if they earn at least $7,000 per month.

  • Additional expenses: Costs like healthcare, education, and special needs can influence the amount of child support that parents are required to pay. Parents will generally be required to divide these costs.

Contact a Milwaukee Child Support Attorney

Child support calculations in Wisconsin are designed to be fair and equitable, but since every family's situation is unique, it is important to make sure all relevant factors are considered. When addressing issues related to child support, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make all the difference. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI child support lawyers can help you understand how the State’s guidelines will apply in your situation, and we will help you ensure that your children's needs will be met. Contact us today at 414-271-1440 for a free consultation.

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