Below are the answers to the most common questions about how child support is determined and calculated in Wisconsin.
How much child support will I have to pay?
The amount of child support ordered by the court will depend on the amount of placement that you have with your child(ren). If you have less than 25% placement with your child(ren) (based on number of overnights over the course of a year) then your child support will be based on the following percentages of your gross income:
17% for one child
25% for 2 children
29% for 3 children
31% for 4 children
34% for 5 or more children.
If you have more than 25% placement with your child(ren) (based on number of overnights over the course of a year) then the court will order support based on both parents’ incomes and the amount of placement that each parent has with the child(ren). While this formula reduces the amount of actual child support paid, it obligates both parties to share variable expenses proportionate to their percent of placement.
The exact formula used to calculate child support for a shared placement schedule is complicated and can be found at http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/bcs/order/guidelines_tools.htm
or you can use the following spreadsheet/calculator:
Will the court order child support on my overtime and or second job?
Child support is based upon your gross income from all sources. This would include part time jobs, overtime and bonuses.
Are there any exceptions to the percentages listed above?
Yes. If you make $84,000 per year or more, there is a separate “high income payor” formula used by the court. The first link above will take you to the calculator for that formula or the above spreadsheet also takes into account that formula when calculating child support for shared placement.
If you have more than one child support order, you are considered a “serial payor” and are entitled to credit for any prior orders.
Additionally the court may deviate upward or downward from the percentage guidelines based on a number of factors such as contribution toward health cost premiums, travel expenses or extraordinary expenses. Each case can present unique circumstances which may warrant a deviation. The court has wide discretion on whether to deviate.
I pay my child support, do I have to pay extra for activities, daycare and medical expenses?
Regardless of whether you are paying child support according to the shared placement formula or the primary placement formula, both parties are obligated to share equally in any unreimbursed medical expenses. The court can also allocate the responsibility, and cost, for carrying health insurance for the child(ren).
Variable expenses such as school activities and day care only require a contribution if it is separately ordered by the court or if you are paying support under the shared placement formula. If you are under a shared placement formula then you are responsible for variable expenses in proportion to the amount of placement time you have. For instance, if you have your child(ren) 35% of the time, then you are obligated to pay 35% of the variable expenses under the child support guidelines. The court, however, can also order a party to contribute to variable expenses even if they do not have shared placement after considering certain factors which are set forth in the statutes.
Do I have to provide my spouse or ex-spouse copies of my W-2 and/or paycheck?
If you are paying or receiving support, then yes, you must provide documentation of your current income or risk being found in contempt of Court.