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How does child support work in Wisconsin?

| Nov 9, 2020 | Child Custody & Support |

As in other states, Wisconsin requires both parents to provide financial support when they do not live together. In general, the parent who spends fewer monthly overnights with the child will pay child support to the parent who has primary physical custody. 

Review the laws that govern child support orders in Wisconsin. 

Standard child support guidelines

Wisconsin has seven varying child support guidelines that apply to different family situations. The standard guideline is simply based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s income as follows: 

  • One child: 17% 
  • Two children: 25% 
  • Three children: 29% 
  • Four children: 31% 
  • Five-plus children: 34% 

Other Wisconsin child support guidelines

The state also specifies support guidelines for a range of family structures, including: 

  • Parents who meet the state low-income guidelines 
  • Parents who exceed the income table of the standard guidelines 
  • Situations in which a parent also pays child support to another family 
  • Shared placement, in which each parent spends at least 25% of time with the child 
  • Split placement, in which each parent has custody of one or more siblings 
  • Split placement and shared placement combined 

While Wisconsin provides worksheets and online calculators for each of these categories, these only estimate the family’s child support amount. The judge can deviate from the child support guidelines at his or her discretion for various reasons, including but not limited to the best interests of the children, the tax impact of the child support order, child care costs, and special health or educational needs. 

Once the court establishes child support, the family can request a review and modification after three years unless they can demonstrate a significant circumstantial change.