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How Child Support Is Determined

In the event that one spouse or the other will have to begin paying child support, there may be a difference between states on how that is determined. Regardless of which state you’re living in, it’s important to remember that both parents will ultimately be financially responsible for the child or children. In Wisconsin, the concept of both parents contributing to child support is one that presents itself frequently. The court system in this state deems both parents responsible for support of the child.

Do Both Parents Contribute?

There is a misconception that the parent receiving child support is likely living off of the child support when in reality, there is a fair contribution from both ends. If the parent supporting the child majority of the time has this mindset, there may be a misunderstanding in how the system works. Is Wisconsin, when there is a ‘shared placement situation” meaning the percentage of overnights during a year a parents has the child is 25% or greater, a shared placement child support formula is used. That formula is part of the stat law.  The Child Support guidelines mentioned bellow are used but applied to each parent factoring in their percentage of overnights. Each parents income is also factored in. Using the formula, each parent’s obligation for support is determined and then offset against the other parents obligation. So a parent how has the children 40% of the time will still pay child support but that amount would be less than the guideline amount. However, if a one parent earns considerable more money that the other parent, the parent might be obligated to pay some child support even if that parent has the children more than 50% of the time.

If a situation where we do not have shared placement, meaning that one parent has the children less than 25% of the overnights in a given year, the that person will pay child support based on the guideline percentage mentioned below with consideration as to what the other parent earns and without offsets. .

Is Income a Factor?

Income is a primary factor in deeming the amount an individual will pay towards child support. There is also a misconception that falls under this category in that it has been assumed that if a parent does not have an income or if it is less than ideal that they wouldn’t have to pay child support. That is a false statement and both parents will always be responsible for contributing to the financial security of the child. Regardless of whether or not the child support comes from a taxable income or a non-taxable source such as a 401k, a parent of a child going through divorce can expect to pay an amount that aligns with whatever their total income may be. This income can also come in the form of property and services, not necessarily just money. Based on income and the number of children being supported, there is a set percentage of income that will go towards child support 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

There are other financial obligations a parent might be obligated to pay besides child support. Those possible obligations will be discussed in subsequent blogs.

For more information on what to expect with paying child support and financially preparing for a divorce, contact Hart Law Office. Call 414-271-1775 for a free consultation today!

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