Every child is entitled to support from their parents. If you divorce with children, child support is intended to cover basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, utilities, transportation and health insurance. There is a legal obligation to support a child until they turn 18 or longer, if they are still in high school or pursuing a GED.
Calculating Wisconsin Child Support
Wisconsin courts use the percentage of income standard to calculate child support payments. The percentage of income guideline breaks down as follows:
17% of income for 1 child
25% of income for 2 children
29% of income for 3 children
31% of income for 4 children
34% of income for 5 or more children
Generally, the court will consider the parents’ incomes, the time the child spends with each parent and if either parent is supporting children from a previous marriage or relationship when applying the standard. Different child support guidelines (Wisconsin Department of Children and Families) may be applied in circumstances of shared placement, serial family, split-placement and high or low income payer cases.
Income Included When Calculating Wisconsin Child Support
Sources of income to be considered will include wages, tips, salaries, bonuses, and commissions; interest and capital gains on property and investments; workers’ comp or personal injury awards that replace income; unemployment; SSDI; military benefits or allowances; and some retirement contributions.
Child support can also be based on a parent’s ability to earn. A child support obligation can be determined by looking at past earnings, education, work experience and the like, which unearths the earning potential the parent has to support the child.
Enforcing Wisconsin Child Support Payments
If parents do not make timely payments, child support agencies have the power to place a lien on the debtor’s property, intercept federal or state income tax returns and deny the parent the ability to obtain business loans or certain college funding. A debtor may also be prevented from obtaining a passport or have their professional, recreational or driver’s license restricted or suspended. Ordered child support that is not paid will continue to be enforced and collected long after the child reaches the age of majority.
Modification to Wisconsin Child Support Orders
In some cases, a child support order may be modified to either increase of decrease the child support obligation. This may happen if one parent loses their job and cannot pay the ordered support or perhaps if a parent’s income goes up substantially in the future. Visit with your attorney promptly if there is a substantial change in your or your ex spouse’s circumstances.
Contact an Experienced Child Support Lawyer
If you have questions regarding calculating Wisconsin child support, contact the Waukesha and Milwaukee child support law attorneys of Probst Law Offices, S.C. for more information at 414-210-3135.