When you've filled in the boxes and clicked on the calculate button, you'll get a rough estimate of the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent (the parent with whom the children live most of the time) under Wisconsin's "percentage standard."
But note that this calculator may not apply in some situations, including when:
Wisconsin's Department of Children and Families (DCF) provides tools to estimate child support in these and other scenarios.
Wisconsin's percentage standard for child support takes into account only the income of the noncustodial parent and the number of children that will be supported. However, this straight percentage formula might be unfair in certain circumstances—especially when parents share custody of their kids. The DCF calculators and worksheets (mentioned above) address the most common of these situations. But Wisconsin law lists a number of other considerations that could justify a judge's decision to order an amount of support that's different than the straight percentage calculation. (Wis. Stat. § 767.511(1m) (2022).)
Learn more about how child support works in Wisconsin, including the factors judges must consider when they're deciding whether the percentage standard would be unfair.
Parents may agree on an amount of child support between themselves, but their agreement (or "stipulation") must meet the guidelines in Wisconsin's child support standards. Otherwise, a judge won't approve the agreement. (Wis. Stat. § 767.34 (2022).)
Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Wisconsin.
If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from Wisconsin's DCF. If needed, the DCSS may also help with establishing the child's legal paternity.
Child support is usually paid through income withholding—meaning that the paying parent's employer will take the support amount out of that parent's paycheck and send it to the state. When an income withholding order won't work (such as when parents are self-employed or between jobs), there are other methods of paying child support through the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund. However the payments are made, the state will then turn over the money to the parent who's receiving the child support.
If a parent is behind with child support payments, Wisconsin's local child support agencies may take a number of enforcement actions. Learn more about child support enforcement in Wisconsin.
If you want to change the amount of child support you're paying or receiving, you'll need to get an order from a judge. There are different ways to request a modification order:
Whichever route you take, a judge will have to decide whether to change the order. And Wisconsin judges won't do that unless they find there's been a substantial change in circumstances (such as a significant change in the paying parent's income or the child's needs) since the existing order went into effect. (Wis. Stat. § 767.59(1f) (2022).)
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