Child Support Lawyer in Wausau, WI | Wausau Law | Family Attorney

Child Support

Working with us on Child Support Cases

Wisconsin courts routinely enter orders requiring a parent of a child to contribute financially to the child’s expenses when the child’s parents do not live together.  This can be done in the context of different types of court proceedings, including divorces, legal separations, annulments and paternity actions.

FAQs for Child Custody & Placement

Will the court order child support if we have the children half the time?

It is common for one party to pay child support, even if he or she has the children for a significant amount of the time.  To calculate child support in Wisconsin in a shared placement situation (where each parent has the children for at least 25% of the time — at least 92 overnights per year), the court looks at the gross income of each parent and the number of overnights each child spends with each parent.

A child support calculator for shared placement cases can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website (requires Microsoft Excel).

Special rules govern the application of the percentage standards to the following different types of payers:

  • A serial family payer (a payer with an existing child support obligation who incurs an additional child support obligation in a subsequent family)
  • A split-custody payer (a payer who has physical placement of at least one but not all the children)
  • High income payers (earning more than $7,000 per month)
  • Low income payers (earning less than $1,350 per month)

See the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website for more tools and calculators to use in determining child support, or call 715.843.6700 to speak to one of our professionals.

I have my children less than 25% of the time. How much child support will I have to pay?

Ordinarily, the percentage of an obligated parent’s gross income required to be paid as support under the standard is as follows:

17% for one child;

25% for two children;

29% for three children;

31% for four children;

34% for five or more children.

Special rules govern the application of the percentage standards to the following different types of payers:

  • A serial family payer (a payer with an existing child support obligation who incurs an additional child support obligation in a subsequent family)
  • A split-custody payer (a payer who has physical placement of at least one but not all the children)
  • High income payers (earning more than $7,000 per month)
  • Low income payers (earning less than $1,350 per month)

See the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website for more tools and calculators to use in determining child support.

Does the court ever deviate from the guidelines?

Yes.  Courts generally follow the child support guidelines.  However, a court may modify the amount of support generated by applying the standard, but only if it finds, after considering a number of factors specified in the statutes, that the use of the percentage standard is unfair to the child or to any of the parties. The factors to be considered by the court in deviating from the guidelines are as follows:

  1. The financial resources of the child.
  2. The financial resources of both parents.
  3. Maintenance payments received by either party.
  4. The needs of each party to support himself or herself at a level equal to or greater than the federal poverty level.
  5. The needs of any person, other than the child, whom either party is legally obligated to support.
  6. If the parties were married, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended in annulment, divorce, or legal separation.
  7. 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, or the value of custodial services performed by the custodian if the custodian remains in the home.
  8. The award of substantial period of physical placement to both parents.
  9. Extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement.
  10. The physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the child, including any costs for health insurance ordered by the court.
  11. The child’s educational needs.
  12. The tax consequences to each party.
  13. The best interests of the child.
  14. The earning capacity of each parent based on each parent’s education, training, and work experience and the availability of work in or near the parent’s community.
  15. Any other factors the court determines are relevant in a particular case.
What if my spouse quits his or her job to avoid paying child support?

The court is permitted to set child support based on a payer’s ability to earn, or “imputed income,” beyond actual earnings. The court may consider factors such as past earnings; current physical and mental health; history of child care responsibilities of the parent with primary placement; the parent’s education, training, and recent work experience; and local job openings.

My spouse and I both have good incomes. Can we waive child support?

Yes.  Parties can agree that neither of them will pay child support to the other.  However, either party can request child support at a later date if there has been a substantial change in circumstances (see “Modification Proceedings”)

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