Many of our clients have concerns about child support. Child support is the concept of one parent giving the other parent money that is for support of a child. Judges in Wisconsin make child support orders in family law cases, such as divorces, child custody and placement matters, paternity actions, and guardianships. There are some other circumstances in addition to those just discussed when a parent may have to make child support payments to another care giver of the child.

A common question we are asked as lawyers in Wisconsin is what money is used for child support. Will child support include overtime pay? Will child support include a bonus? Will child support include money from a second job? The answer to these questions, is “maybe”. The reason is that Wisconsin has a very broad definition of what income can be used and considered by a judge for making an order on child support.
For a complete definition of what is gross income, please review Wisconsin DCF 150.02 (13). For this, however, I am providing a streamlined list (please review DCF 150.02(13) for the complete definition). Gross income in Wisconsin means all of the following:
  • Salary and wages
  • Interest and investment income
  • Social security disability and old-age insurance benefits
  • Net proceeds from worker’s compensation or other persona injury awards intended to replace income
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Income continuation benefits
  • Voluntary deferred compensation, employee contributions to any employee benefit plan or profit-sharing, and employee contributions to any pension or retirement account whether or not the account provides for tax deferral or avoidance
  • Veterans disability compensation benefits and military allowances, including basic allowances for subsistence and housing, but excluding amounts attributable to area variable housing costs
  • Undistributed income of a corporation, including closely held corporation, or any partnership, including a limited liability partnership, in which the parent has an ownership interest sufficient to individually exercise control or to access the earnings of the business
  •  All other income, whether taxable or not