Top 3 Questions about Wisconsin Child Support
1. In a Wisconsin Divorce, How Is Child Support Calculated?
In any Wisconsin divorce in which the parents have a minor child or children, one important issue is child support. At the beginning of a divorce, the court will issue a temporary order that addresses a number of issues, including setting the amount of child support. Wisconsin Statutes Section 767.511 requires the court to use the percentage-of-i
ncome standard to determine child support. Under Wisconsin’s percentage-of-income standard, the court is required to set the following child support amounts:
- 17% of gross monthly income for one child
- 25% of gross monthly income for two children
- 29% of gross monthly income for three children
- 31% of gross monthly income for four children
- 34% of gross monthly income for five children
It is important to note that Wisconsin child support is based on gross monthly income, which is the amount of income prior to taxes, social security, and other deductions being taken out each month.
2. Is There Any Way to Reduce the Amount of Wisconsin Child Support?
Yes. The court may modify the amount of child support if, after considering the following factors (found in Wis. Stat. §767.511(1m)), the court finds, by the greater weight of the credible evidence, that using the percentage standard is unfair:
- The financial resources of the child
- The financial resources of both parents
- Maintenance (spousal support) received by either party
- The needs of each party in order to support himself or herself
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not ended (if the parties were married)
- The needs of any person, other than the child, whom either party is legally obligated to support
- The desirability that the custodian remain in the home as a full-time parent
- The cost of day care if the custodian works outside the home
- Extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement
- The child’s educational needs
- The physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child
- The tax consequences to each party
- The best interests of the child
- The earning capacity of each parent.
- Any other factor which the court in each case determines are relevant.
Expert Tip: The court will routinely reduce child support if the parent paying child support pays for health insurance for the child or for the child’s variable expenses. Variable expenses are everything the child needs beyond food and clothing. However, the court will normally not reduce the amount of child support for these reasons unless the parent paying child support actually requests the reduction in court.
3. Is Wisconsin Child Support Calculated Differently for Low and High Income Parents?
Yes. The percentage-of-income standard is different for high-income parents and low-income parents as well as for parents who pay child support for children in two or more families. The different standards for these types of cases are outlined in Wisconsin’s Administrative Code: DCF § 150.03 and DCF § 150.04. A high-income parent is one with a gross monthly income of $7,000 or more per month. For high-income parents, child support is 17% of gross monthly income up to $7,000 and then a lesser percentage of any income above $7,000.
For more information on divorce in Wisconsin, check out: “5 Things You Should Know about Divorce in Wisconsin,” “Wisconsin Divorce Questions” or our divorce page.
Speak to an Expert
Attorney Christopher Glinski of Glinski Law Office has been recognized as one of the top divorce lawyers in Racine, Wisconsin. Contact Glinski Law Office at (262) 632.1555 for a free consultation or send a text to (414) 313-7918.