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Wisconsin Child Support Calculator

According to the United States Census Bureau, the national average child support payment was $430 per month in 2010. This means you could end up spending around $100,000 or more over the course of your child’s adolescence. Other factors unique to your situation could inflate that number even higher, such as number of children, the parents’ incomes, placement schedules, and more.

Minimize the cost spent on child support payments by contacting the professional Milwaukee Family law firm, Divergent Law. Our attorneys specialize in child support and child custody laws in Wisconsin. Use our free 2020 Wisconsin child support calculator for primary or shared placement schedules to estimate your monthly Wisconsin child support payments. Our child maintenance calculator uses statistics and rates found in DCF 150. Select different child custody arrangements to see how 50/50, 60/40 and 70/30 placement schedules would affect the child support amount. 

Child support is just one of the many aspects to consider when determining the cost of divorce in Wisconsin. Our Milwaukee divorce attorneys offer flat-fee quotes & flexible payment plans. See also: How much does a divorce cost in Wisconsin?

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How Wisconsin Calculates Child Support Rates

Child custody and child support laws in Wisconsin are complex and hard to follow at times. Many factors can play into determining child support rates such as joint vs sole placement, the yearly gross income of the parents, special needs of the child(ren), and more. A 50:50 placement schedule would result in a very different child support payment than a 70:30 child custody schedule.

Guidelines exist for given situations for the courts to follow. The courts are required to follow these child support guidelines but they can deviate from them and increase or decrease payments based on other factors.

Divergent Law attorneys can help you navigate the complex landscape of Wisconsin child support and placement laws, codes, regulations, and violations to make sure your child support payments are fair.Contact Milwaukee child support attorneys at Divergent Law today for a free initial consultation.

Guidelines for the following placement situations are suggested for use by the courts:

How Wisconsin Calculates Primary Placement Child Support Rates

When the non-residential parent has less than 92 (less than 25% of the time) overnight visits with the child(ren), Wisconsin considers the case to be of primary placement to the residential parent. The child(ren)’s primary residence and supervision are provided by the residential parent, while the non-residential parent is entitled to visitation, which may or may not include overnights.

Wisconsin uses the standard percentage formula, set by DCF 150 of our State Legislature. The percentage is based on the number of kids to be in primary placement of a parent. The paying parent will make child support payments based on the following percentages:

  • For 1 child, it's 17% of gross income
  • For 2 children, it's 25% of gross income
  • For 3 children, it's 29% of gross income
  • For 4 children, it's 31% of gross income
  • For 5+ children, it's 34% of gross income

In Wisconsin, the courts may use their discretion in evaluating other factors to increase or decrease monthly child support payments. Additionally, percentages vary based on low or high-income of either party.

Use Divergent Law’s Wisconsin child support calculator with overnights to estimate child support payments for shared custody, split custody or full custody situations. These calculations should only be used as estimates to determine your monthly child support based on time spent with the child(ren).

Wisconsin Child Support Percentage Conversion (Examples)

 Monthly Income1 child (0.17)2 children (0.17)3 children (0.17)4 children (0.17)5+ children (0.17)
$2,000.00 $340.00 $500.00 $580.00 $620.00 $680.00
$2,100.00 $357.00 $525.00 $609.00 $651.00 $714.00
$2,300.00 $391.00 $575.00 $667.00 $713.00 $782.00
$2,500.00 $425.00 $625.00 $725.00 $775.00 $850.00
$2,900.00 $493.00 $725.00 $841.00 $899.00 $986.00

View the WI Child Support Percentage Conversion Table (Chapter DCF 150 APPENDIX A) for more examples.

*Gross income is the sum of all wages, tips, profits, salaries, interest payments, and other forms of earnings, before any taxes and other deductions.

 

How Wisconsin Calculates Shared Placement Child Support Rates

To qualify for shared placement in Wisconsin, both parents are required to have at least 92 (25% of the time) overnight visits with the child(ren). Both parents have a significant amount of contact and time with their child(ren).

Wisconsin uses a Shared Placement formula based on the percentage standard as well as time spent with each parent. Child support in Wisconsin is determined by each parent’s gross monthly income, the standard percentage based on the number of children (see table below), and the percentage of time each parent spends with the child(ren).

In Wisconsin, the use of the shared placement formula for shared placement is at the discretion of the courts. The courts may also use other factors in increasing or decreasing monthly child support payments.

Use Divergent Law’s free online Wisconsin child support calculator for joint custody to determine an estimate of your monthly child support payments. These calculations should only be used as estimates to determine your monthly child support cost.

Wisconsin Child  Support Standard Percentage

1 child2 children3 children4 children5+ children
17% of gross income 25% of gross income 29% of gross income 31% of gross income 34% of gross income

View the WI Shared Placement Worksheet.

*Gross income is the sum of all wages, tips, profits, salaries, interest payments, and other forms of earnings, before any taxes and other deductions.

 

How Wisconsin Calculates Low-Income Child Support Rates

If you’re gross monthly income is less than $1,485/month (75% to 150% of the 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines), your child support obligation may be based off the low-income formula for primary placement or shared placement.

In Wisconsin, the use of the low-income formula for primary placement or shared placement is at the discretion of the courts. The courts may also use other factors in increasing or decreasing monthly child support payments.

Use Divergent Law’s easy-to-use online Wisconsin child support calculator to determine an estimate of your monthly child support payments. Our child support formula should only be used as estimates to determine your monthly child support cost.

Child Support Obligation of Low−Income Payers (Examples)

Gross Monthly Income Up To:

Child Support for 1 child

Child Support for 2 kids

Child Support for 3 kids

Child Support for 4 Kids

Child Support for 5+ children

Percent

Child

Support

Amount

Percent

Child

Support

Amount

Percent

Child

Support

Amount

Percent

Child

Support

Amount

Percent

Child

Support

Amount

$781.00

11.22%

$88

16.50%

$129

19.14%

$149

20.46%

$160

22.44%

$175

$808.00

11.43%

$92

16.80%

$136

19.49%

$157

20.84%

$168

22.85%

$185

$889.00

12.05%

$107

17.71%

$157

20.55%

$183

21.97%

$195

24.09%

$214

$1,057.00

13.28%

$140

19.54%

$206

22.66%

$240

24.22%

$256

26.57%

$281

$1,309.00

15.14%

$198

22.27%

$291

25.83%

$338

27.61%

$361

30.28%

$396

$1,485.00 or higher

– No longer eligible for Low Income formula –

View the WI Low-Income Payer Guidelines (Chapter DCF 150 – APPENDIX C) for more examples.

*Gross income is the sum of all wages, tips, profits, salaries, interest payments, and other forms of earnings, before any taxes and other deductions.

How Wisconsin Calculates High-Income Child Support Rates

If the paying parent’s gross income is $7000/month ($84,000/year) or more, your child support obligation may be based on the high-income payer worksheet for primary placement or shared placement.

In Wisconsin, the use of the high-income formula for primary placement or shared placement is at the discretion of the courts. The courts may also use other factors in increasing or decreasing monthly child support payments.

Use Divergent Law’s free online Wisconsin child support calculator to determine an estimate of your monthly child support amount per child.

Child Support Obligation of High-Income Payers

 

1 child

2 children

3 children

4 children

5+ children

The first $7,000/month of income

17% of gross income

25% of gross income

29% of gross income

31% of gross income

34% of gross income

Portion of income between $7,000/month and $12,500/month

14% of gross income

20% of gross income

23% of gross income

25% of gross income

27% of gross income

Portion of income that is more $12,500/month

10% of gross income

15% of gross income

17% of gross income

19% of gross income

20% of gross income

View the WI High-Income Payer Worksheet.

*Gross income is the sum of all wages, tips, profits, salaries, interest payments, and other forms of earnings, before any taxes and other deductions.

Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support in Wisconsin

Failing to make child support payments on time (or at all) can hold significant penalties in Wisconsin. If you don’t pay court-ordered child support, you will be actively violating a court order and you may be held in contempt of court. This could result in fines and jail time, or you could even be referred to the District Attorney for review for a possible criminal case.

If your past child support dues are more than $500, the state, through the child support agency, may place a lien placed on your property without a court hearing. These act as a hold placed your property, such as land and vehicles. You must pay or satisfy the child support lien before you are able to sell the property.

Possible outcomes and consequences of a child support lien:

  • Liens paid in full will remain on your credit report for 7 years from the date paid
  • State agencies will deny grants & loans
  • Revocation of licenses such as driving, professional, occupational, hunting & more
  • Bank account seizures
  • Seizure of property such as land and vehicles

Avoid these costly penalties and fees by contacting Milwaukee child support lawyers at Divergent Law before the fees add up and it’s too late.

 

Easy Wisconsin Child Support Calculator

8 Common Myths about Child Support Laws in Wisconsin

Myth: Child support payments I make are tax deductible.

Fact: The paying parent is not able to claim child support payments as a deduction on their income taxes, and the receiving parent does not need to report the payments as part of their income, as the payments are tax free.

Myth: My payments will remain the same amount until child support stops.

Fact: Child support is always modifiable. A number of factors can raise or lower child support payments, including a change in income for either parent, loss of job by the paying parent, or the needs of the child(ren) evolve in special cases. Using the Wisconsin Child Support Calculator with the updated income to forecast a new estimate can help determine the new monthly payment.

Myth: I have the right to know how my ex-spouse is spending my child support money.

Fact: There is no requirement for the receiving parent to report spending habits to the paying parent.

Myth: My ex-spouse can only spend my child support payments directly on our child(ren).

Fact: Child support payments can be used on products and services that indirectly support the child(ren) as well, such as housing, insurance and more.

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Myth: If my ex-spouse and I have 50/50 custody, no one needs to pay child support.

Fact: This a rare occurrence. In the majority of child support cases, one parent will be paying child support. The parent’s income and the number of nights the child(ren) spends with each parent are factors that determine which parent will be making child support payments. If one parent earns more, despite an equal placement schedule, there will be child support to offset the expense of the child(ren) in the parents’ homes.

Myth: I don’t have to keep paying child support after my child turns 18.

Fact: The only circumstance in the State of Wisconsin a parent may have to pay support for a child upon their 18th birthday is when the child turns 18 but is still attending high school or pursuing a high school equivalency course (GED). Learn more about child support termination in Wisconsin.

Myth: If I’m behind on child support, my ex-spouse can’t collect payments after my child turns 18.

Fact: In Wisconsin, back child support pay can be collected even after the child has turned 18 and moved out. Cases with past-due child support (also known as arrears) can be collected and enforced for up to 20 years after the child turns 18.

Myth: If I lose or quit my job on purpose, my child support payments will be lowered.

Fact: While this may be true in some job loss cases, the state sees the financial well-being of the child(ren) a responsibility of both parents, and willing unemployment is not a valid excuse to avoid payment. Wisconsin has coined the term “shirking” for a parent who has unreasonably and voluntarily reduced their income. The Court could still hold that parent to the level of income they were earning at the job they quit.

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Frequently Asked Child Support Questions in Wisconsin

I don’t think my child(ren)’s parent is using the child support the way it should be. What can I do?
Child support is intended to go toward your child(ren)’s welfare, which includes rent, food, clothes, etc. Some of these things such as rent and food overlap where the other parent may benefit from. If you are concerned your child(ren)  is being neglected, you could try to contact the Department of Health and Human Services to see what can be done. However, the paying parent does not have the right to decide how the support is spent on the child(ren).
If the other parent is refusing to let me see our child(ren), can I stop paying child support?
Your obligation first and foremost is to care for your child(ren), so do not stop paying. The issue of placement of the child(ren)  and child support are considered two entirely different issues with the court and if you stop paying your child support, you could be held in contempt of court. If your court-ordered child placement schedule is being violated, you can file a motion to enforce physical placement against the other parent. Contact our attorneys today to find out all your options going forward.
Can I just use the Child Support Calculator to determine the monthly child support payment?
Using the Child Support Calculator can give a calculated estimate to determine the monthly child supported cost. Though the calculator is based on guidelines determined by the State of Wisconsin courts, specifically DCF 150.  The courts can deviate from these guidelines and increase or decrease payments based on other factors. A child support lawyer in Wisconsin can help you determine more accurate child support payment estimations.
How is child support determined?
Child support determination is based on the needs of the child, income and needs of the custodial parent, the paying parent's ability to pay and the child's standard of living before divorce or separation.
How many overnights is every other weekend?
Custody of your child(ren) every other weekend results in 52 overnights per year.
How many overnights is joint custody?
To qualify for joint physical custody, Wisconsin requires that each parent host more than 92 overnights per year. Use our child support shared custody calculator to see how many overnights for various joint custody arrangments.
How much child support will I pay for one child?
For one child, you will pay 17% of your gross income in child support. Percentages vary for low-income payers.
How do I apply for child support in Wisconsin?
To apply for child support in Wisconsin, you should visit your local child support agency. Filing for child support in Wisconsin can take place by downloading an application form online at the Wisconsin DCF website and returning the completed application to the child support agency.
How do I determine the first weekend of the month?
To determine the first weekend of the month, look at the first Friday of the month. If the 1st of the month is on or before Friday, that is the first weekend. However, if the 1st of the month is on Saturday, the following weekend will be the first weekend of the month.
What percentage of income do you pay for child support?
>Wisconsin uses the standard percentage formula, set by DCF 150 of our State Legislature. The percentage is based on the number of kids to be in primary placement of a parent:
  • For 1 child, it's 17% of gross income
  • For 2 children, it's 25% of gross income
  • For 3 children, it's 29% of gross income
  • For 4 children, it's 31% of gross income
  • For 5+ children, it's 34% of gross income

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