How does child support in Wisconsin work?
Parents are financially obligated to support their children rather they are together or divorced. Wisconsin child support ensures that parents take care of their children financially through monthly payments.
Wisconsin child support is most often paid by the parent with 50% or less of the physical custody of the child. The parent which makes payments is known as the non-custodial parent. The individual that receives payments is knowns as the custodial parent.
The custodial parent is expected to use child support payments to help in the raising of their child. Payments are meant to cover shelter, food, clothing, and all other necessities. Custodial parents are not supposed to use the funds to cover their own personal expenses.
Wisconsin child support calculation
To determine the amount of money a parent must pay in Wisconsin child support, the parents will need to work together. Parents can use the state’s child support guidelines to determine the amount that is to be paid. However, a judge must confirm the amount before it is official. The judge could alter the final financial figure before payments begin.
Overnights, or where the child sleeps, is what is used to determine the amount of child support that is paid by the non-custodial parent. For sole custody, Wisconsin courts uses a standard percentage model based on the number of children involved in the case.
The starting point to calculate child support is to therefore ask two questions. One, what is the placement schedule look like between for the kids, between the two households? How many overnights is the general rule that each kid or the kids spend at each house and then how much each parent makes in cases where one parent has more than seventy five percent of the overnights in a given year? The other parent is going to be paying a set percentage of their gross income from all sources, so for one kid, that would be 17 percent, two kids. Twenty five percent. And it goes up depending on how many kids there are.
If there’s more of a shared placement schedule, each parent has more than twenty five percent of the overnights in a given year. At that point, the courts employ what’s called a shared placement calculator.
Wisconsin child support calculation is based on Gross Income
Gross income not what you see in your bank account. That’s what you see on your paycheck that you say, I wish I would have made. that would even even though I only got to see this.
Many people in Wisconsin feel that that’s not a fair way to calculate it. But there’s so many different ways to manipulate how much you withhold what you contribute to retirement plans. And the courts are simply of the opinion that it cuts out game playing if the child support calculation in WI is based on gross income before tax and contributions.
High income child support in Wisconsin
Is there is there any difference between the scenarios and someone that’s really high income?
There are different factors that come into play. There’s low income calculations. There’s high income calculations. If someone is paying for multiple children in multiple different families, there’s different calculations that come into play.
There are some factors that would really lend in complicated cases for for people to reach out to a Wisconsin divorce lawyer to help guide them through that calculation, and what they can expect in court.
Standard Wisconsin child support
What are the child support guidelines if you’re going to be paying the set standard amount?
The court’s going to look at your income from all sources. So at that point, they’re going to look at your base income. If you have bonuses, commissions, if there’s income or interest from investments, all that will count as income.
If you’re paying 17 percent of that income to the other parent as child support the courts are going to account for how much it costs a parent to to cover the kids on insurance that’ll be adjusted in child support. There are child support guidelines in WI covering this and the courts generally do follow those guidelines in almost all cases.
If you’re paying guideline support with less than twenty five percent of the overnights, you can expect to pay the following percentage of income:
- for one child, 17 percent
- for two children, 25 percent
- for three children, 29 percent
- for four children, 31 percent
- for five children, 34 percent
Does joint custody pay child support in WI
Custody is just decision making for the children. Major life decisions court presumes that both parents are supposed to work together to make those decisions for the kid. It has nothing to do with child support. Child support as we discussed is based on the placement arrangement of the children. So on a 50/50 placement schedule yes a higher earner can expect to pay some kind of child support.
If there’s a 50 50 placement schedule there is a formula that the courts will use. The general rule of thumb would be if there’s quite a difference in what each parent makes in a 50 50 placement arrangement, the higher earner will generally have some sort of support obligation, even on a 50 50 basis. The intent there is that the children should have access to approximately the same similar lifestyles in both homes.
If there’s a big disparity in income or resources available for children in one household over the other it sometimes creates a conflict in the child, and a desire to be in one place over the other. So the intent even on these 50 50 arrangements is the child will have a similar lifestyle in both parents homes to to reduce some of that conflict that can arise when finances are a concern. The Wisconsin family court is going to look at it from a perspective of what’s in the best interest of the child.
Can Wisconsin child support take your whole paycheck?
No. There are certain percentages that that are set in stone that you can’t garnish above about. If you have a child support order, there’s no arrears or you don’t owe any back support then Child support cannot take more than around 50% of your check under those circumstances. There’s a few other particular and specific triggers that might allow child support to garnish more than 50 percent of your check, but no more than sixty five and under any circumstance.
Can the court deviate from the Wisconsin child support guidelines?
Wisconsin courts can deviate from child support guidelines when determining the amount paid. Several factors are taken into account by the courts, including:
- A child’s financial resources
- The parents’ financial resources
- Alimony payments received by the parents
- Other dependents the parents support
- Whether or not the custodial parent wants to remain a stay-at-home parent
- A child’s educational needs
- Health insurance needs
- A child’s health, physical, and/or mental needs
- Each parent’s financial earnings capacity
What if a parent isn’t paying child support in Wisconsin?
Some parents refuse to pay child support or work in employment they are overqualified for. By taking a job they are underpaid working, non-custodial parent believes they do not have to pay as much money in child support. This belief is wrong as courts can impute an individual’s earnings. Courts have other resources at their disposal to enforce a child support order. If a court imputes your earnings, then you a parent must pay what they calculate should be paid based on a set of criteria.
A parent’s decrease in earnings can be legitimate. In this case, a parent should seek a modification to the child support order. A parent cannot simply pay less money due to earning less money. They must go through the courts to make it official.
Parents can have their child support order reviewed every three years. It is at this time a parent can have their payments decreased or increased. A child support order is unlikely to be modified unless the change would be less than 15% of the current order or less than $50 a month.