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Wisconsin Child Support

Wisconsin Child Support 

By Maury D. Beaulier, Esq.


Child Support percentage
Deviations from Guidelines
Shared Physical Placement & Support
Split Physical Placement & Support
Second Families and Child Support
Child Support and Denial of Access Unrelated
Trust Accounts for Child
Termination of Child Support
Agreements to Pay for College

Wisconsin, like states across the America, has complied with federal requests to adopt uniform guidelines for determining child support. Although the laws in neighboring states may be similar, no two states have identical laws.  

Child Support Guidelines

Wisconsin courts may consider all relevant financial information or information relevant to either parent's earning capacity when determining the amount of child support to be paid. However, Wisconsin has also adopted child support guidelines which presume that child support should be based on a percentage of that parent's gross income. 

The child support guideline percentages that are applied are as follows: 

  • one child --- 17%
  • two children -- 25%
  • three children -- 29%
  • four children -- 31%
  • five children -- 33%

Deviations From Guidelines

These guidelines form a rebuttable presumption. Only under rare circumstances does a court deviate from these guidelines.  In fact, in order for a Court to deviate from the percentage guidelines it must include in its order specific findings determining the amount of guideline support and its reasons why the guideline support is unfair to the child or either party. As part of the analysis, the Court must consider the following factors:

  • The financial resources of the child. 
  • The financial resources of both parents including divisions of property as part of the divorce, legal separation or annulment. 
  • Maintenance received by either party. 
  • The needs of each party in order to support himself or herself at a level equal to or greater than that established by federal poverty guidelines (42 USC 9902 (2)). 
  • The needs of any person, other than the child, whom either party is legally obligated to support. 
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended in annulment, divorce or legal separation. 
  •  The desirability that the custodian remain in the home as a full­time 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. 
  • The award of substantial periods of physical placement to both parents. 
  • Extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement. 
  • The physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child, including any costs for health insurance. 
  • The child's educational needs. 
  • The tax consequences to each party. 
  • The best interests of the child. 
  • 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. 
  • Any other factors which the court in each case determines are relevant.

Shared Physical Placement

Child support may be reduced from guideline percentages  if each parent shares physical placement. Shared physical placement is presumed when the child support payer  has the child in their care no less than 30% of the time or 110 nights per year. If the payer cares for the child between 30-40% of the time, his/her child support obligation may be reduced from 100% of the guideline percentage to 67% of the guideline support figure. If the payer cares for the child between 40 and 60% of the time, his/her child support may be  reduced from 67% of the guideline child support figur

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