Child Support Amounts

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Your Guide to Setting Child Support
                                   October 2008

The Child Support Percentage of Income Standard provides guidelines to
Wisconsin courts for setting child support payment amounts. The guidelines are
based on the belief that both parents are responsible for supporting their
children, whether they live together or not.

      Child support guidelines
      Income for child support
      Using the basic guidelines
      Shared-Placement cases
      Serial family cases (supporting more than one family)
      Low-Income payers
      High-Income payers
      Questions and answers
      Need more information?
      Print format *

Online tables and calculators to estimate support amounts

      Basic guideline table
      Low-Income payer table
      Shared-Placement support calculator
      Serial family support calculator
      High-Income support calculator

* The print format version of this guide and some other links on this web page
require the Adobe(r) Acrobat Reader. Click here to download a free copy.
Child support guidelines
The child support guidelines are based on:

      the parent’s income
      the time a child spends with each parent
      whether a parent is supporting other children

The basic support guidelines are:

      17% of gross income for 1 child
      25% of gross income for 2 children
      29% of gross income for 3 children
      31% of gross income for 4 children
      34% of gross income for 5 or more children

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Income for child support
Gross income is defined as all income and earnings from all sources. The
income may or may not be taxable. Income can be in the form of money,
property or services. Gross income includes:

      wages, salaries, earnings, tips, interest, capital gains, commissions and
      worker’s compensation or other personal injury awards intended to
      replace income
      unemployment insurance
      income continuation benefits and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
      voluntary contributions to retirement and cafeteria plans
      undistributed income of a corporation
      military allowances and veterans benefits

Gross income does not include:
      child support
      public assistance payments such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      and W-2 cash payments or food stamps

The court may use a parent's actual income, or the amount that a parent has the
"ability to earn." The court can consider a parent’s:

      past earnings
      current physical and mental health
      history of child care responsibilities and periods of physical placement
      Example: A parent is the primary caretaker of the child and has remained
      at home with the child rather than working outside the home.
      education, training, and current work experience
      local job openings

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Using the basic guidelines
The basic child support guidelines are used when one parent cares for the child
for more than 75% of the time (274 or more days/year):

      The other parent will pay support based on his or her income
      The amount ordered will be based on the child support guidelines

Example: A parent cares for the child or children for more than 75% of the time.
The chart below shows child support amounts at different levels of income for
the other parent. (Guideline percentage x gross monthly income.)

   Gross       One       Two          Three        Four          Five +
  Monthly      Child    Children     Children     Children      Children
  Income       17%        25%          29%          31%           34%

      $1,500     $255         $375         $435          $465         $570
      $2,000     $340         $500         $580          $620         $680
      $3,000     $510         $750         $870          $930        $1020