As a parent, it is important for you to know that your children will continue to have a good life after your divorce. In part, this means making sure they will have the financial support that they need from both parents. Wisconsin law ensures that this is the case by including a child support order in any divorce involving minor children. Even so, it is reasonable to have questions and concerns about how the support order can affect you and your children. Understanding how child support payments are calculated can help to alleviate some of these concerns.
Child Custody and Support Calculations
The way child support is calculated in Wisconsin depends in part on the placement arrangement determined in the divorce resolution. If one parent is awarded primary placement (meaning the other parent has less than 92 overnights per year), the other parent will usually be obligated to pay child support based on a percentage of his or her gross income, depending on the number of children for whom support will be paid. For example, the parent who does not have primary placement can be ordered to pay 17 percent of his or her gross income for one child, 25 percent for two children, and up to 34 percent for five children or more.
However, if both parents will have at least 92 overnights with the child or children, the calculation will factor in each of their incomes, as well as the percentage of time that each will have physical placement. Often, this means that the parent with a higher income and a lesser share of physical placement will be ordered to make child support payments to the other, but the end result can vary depending on the specific details of a couple’s case.
Deviations From Support Calculations
In some cases, the court may decide that the standard child support calculations do not sufficiently account for the children’s or parents’ needs. If so, it may issue an order that deviates from the standard child support calculation. Possible factors considered in a deviation include the children’s best interests and health and educational needs, childcare costs, costs of transportation between the two parents’ homes, the parents’ financial resources, and most commonly, health insurance premiums The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families also provides special child support calculations for cases involving a high-income parent or situations in which different parents have primary physical custody of different children.
Contact a Waukesha County Child Support Lawyer
Because child support obligations are so dependent on the specific details of your situation, it is important that you work with an attorney who can provide you with personalized guidance and advice. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we will help you ensure that the terms of your support order protect both you and your children. Contact a Milwaukee family law attorney at 414-271-1440 to request a free consultation.