Guide to Child Support in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

When parents split up – provided that their kids are still minors – one typically has to pay the other child support. The state has specific guidelines it uses to set child support amounts, which account for each parent’s income, how much time the kids spend with each parent, and whether either parent is supporting other children as well.

Both parents are responsible for supporting their children. However, the payments usually go to the kids’ primary caregiver because the state accounts for what he or she is already contributing. Your Milwaukee divorce attorney can give you case-specific advice, but here’s a general overview.

Wisconsin’s Child Support Guidelines

Based on Wisconsin child support guidelines, which apply to most families (although there are exceptions), the paying parent’s income determines the amount he or she will pay. The guidelines say that the paying parent must contribute the following percentages of his or her income:

  • 17% for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 29% for three children
  • 31% for four children
  • 34% for five or more children

There is a low-income payer table for parents who make under a certain amount of money each month, as well as a high-income payer table for parents who make over a certain amount.

The court has a little leeway in ordering child support. The main idea is that the child support must be fair to both parents and the children involved in the case – and your judge may make adjustments based on several factors. If both parents share placement of the children and each has the child at least 25 percent of the time, for example, or if one parent has to support more than one family, the court may adjust the amount of child support that changes hands.

Enforcing Child Support

When a judge orders child support, it’s a legally binding order – the paying parent must pay it or face consequences. Wisconsin’s child support agencies enforce child support payments by:

  • Taking tax refunds
  • Preventing the parent who owes from getting a passport or financial assistance
  • Placing a lien against the owing parent’s property
  • Suspending the owing parent’s driver’s license

Related: Can you withhold child support if your ex won’t let you see your kids?

Are You a Parent Who’s Getting a Divorce?

If you’re a parent who’s considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed, we can help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 right now for a free consultation with a Milwaukee divorce attorney. We’ll answer your questions about child support, placement and other divorce-related issues, and we’ll begin putting together a strategy that gets your family the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino