When a child’s parents are divorced or separated, child support is a crucial means of ensuring that the child’s basic needs are met as they would be in a two-parent household. For parents, however, there may be uncertainty as to how child support obligations are determined. The parents may be unsure about who will be required to pay and how much, especially if there is a significant difference in income between the two parents or a recent change in their financial situation. Here, we help you understand how parental income plays a role in calculating Wisconsin child support payments.
Factors in Wisconsin Child Support Calculations
When calculating child support in Wisconsin, the first important consideration is the percentage of the year that the children spend in overnight placement with each parent. If the children are not placed with each parent for at least 25 percent of the year, or 92 overnights, the parties will not have shared physical placement of the child(ren); therefore, the parent with less than 25% of the overnights will be required to make monthly child support payments based on the number of children the parties have, using the following rates:
- 17 percent of income for 1 child
- 25 percent of income for 2 children
- 29 percent of income for 3 children
- 31 percent of income for 4 children
- 34 percent of income for 5 children or more
If, however, the children are placed with both parents for at least 92 overnights throughout the year, the parents are considered to share physical placement, and the payment calculation becomes more complicated:
- First, each parent’s monthly income is multiplied by the above percentages based on the number of children.
- Second, the resulting amounts are each multiplied by 1.5 to account for the children’s basic support costs.
- Third, the resulting amounts are multiplied by the percentage of time the children are placed with the other parent.
- At this point, whichever parent has a higher resulting amount will pay support to the other. The payment amount is calculated by subtracting the lower parent’s amount from the higher parent’s amount.
Since this calculation factors in both parents’ incomes, disagreements may arise if one parent has voluntarily taken a pay cut or voluntarily stopped working. In these cases, the case may be made to the court that calculations should consider the parent’s ability to earn based on their income history, education, health, and the job market, rather than only considering their actual current income.
Contact an Appleton Family Law Attorney
At [[title]], we know how important it is to provide for your children, but we also do not want you to suffer under an unfair child support arrangement. We can help you ensure that calculations are made fairly, based on an accurate understanding of the underlying law and each parent’s ability to provide for their children. Contact an experienced Green Bay child support lawyer today at 920-739-7366.