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Ka-Ching! Child Support Totals Explained

Child SupportThe goal of child support is to provide for the needs of minor children based on the resources of their parents. To that end, the State of Wisconsin uses a formula that takes a number of factors into account in order to determine the appropriate amount. Your Wisconsin divorce attorney and the courts use these factors in order to calculate the amount that’s correct in your case:

Number of children

The law requires each parent to contribute a percentage of their income. If you have one minor child, you pay 17 percent of your gross income. If you have two children, you pay 25 percent. Each additional child requires the parent to contribute an additional percentage of their income to the child’s support up to a total of 34 percent of gross income for 5 or more children. Please note that these percentages are adjusted for high-income payers, so check with your attorney before agreeing to any amount.


To determine the exact amount of a support obligation, the court looks at each parent’s income. When a parent is employed for wages, this is an easy question. However, self-employment, military benefits and investment income can make this a more complicated determination. In addition, when parents are voluntarily under employed, the court can impute an income that they feel is appropriate.

Time with the child

If placement is shared between the parents, support is calculated using a different formula. In that case, the court determines the percent of time that each parent spends with the child and attributes support contributions accordingly. This division makes an adjustment to account for duplicate expenses such as housing and transportation.

Special Circumstances

Although these are the basic components of a child support order, your Wisconsin family law firm can work with you in order to ask the court for exceptions in special circumstances. This might include childcare, tuition or provisions for a special needs child. Of course, a child support order must be based on a true accounting of the needs of the children and the resources of the parents if it’s going to be an accurate amount. The attorneys of McLario Helm Bertling & Spiegel S.C. can help you understand how the law applies to your case, and they can present your case to the court to advocate for you and your children.

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