Wisconsin Child Support Attorneys

Divorce Lawyers in Milwaukee and Waukesha

Protecting Your Financial Interests

A Wisconsin child support lawyer in Waukesha and Milwaukee divorce attorneys at Gamiño Law Offices, LLC will ensure there is a fair child support order to manage your budget.  Our Wisconsin divorce lawyers can help you collect the support you are owed or defend you against unmanageable obligations. In this area of practice, a knowledgeable attorney can protect your immediate and long-term financial interests.  The best outcome is one in which child support payments are both proper and fair.
1.  What is child support?
​In Wisconsin, child support is court ordered financial support and medical coverage for children.   According to Wisconsin Statutes § 767.511, when the court approves a stipulation for child support, enters a judgment of annulment, divorce, or legal separation, or enters an order or a judgment in a paternity action, the court must:
  • Order either or both parents to pay an amount reasonable or necessary to fulfill a duty to support a child. The support amount must be expressed as a fixed sum unless the parties have stipulated to expressing the amount as a percentage of the payer's income and certain requirements are met.
  • Order which party, if either is eligible, will claim each child as an exemption for federal or state income tax purposes. 
  • Assign responsibility for, and direct the manner of payment of, the child's health care expenses.

2.  How does the court determine child support payments?
If a parent has physical placement with the child less than 25 percent of the time, the court usually bases child support on a percentage of that parent's gross (pre-tax) income.  The standard support percentages are:  17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children, and 34% for five or more children.  However, these percentages may be reduced for higher income levels.  In addition, the court may adjust the standard support percentages upward or downward, if it determines that applying the standard percentages would be unfair in a particular case.

If each parent has at least 25% physical placement with the child, which is known as shared placement, each parent's gross income is considered in setting child support. Though the standard support percentages discussed above are part of the equation, the calculation is much more complex because it also considers the amount of physical placement each parent has with the child.  In addition to the child support payments set by this calculation, shared placement parents are also responsible for the child's variable costs (such as child care, tuition, and special needs) typically in proportion to the time that the parent has physical placement with the child.

If the court believes that either parent is shirking his or her obligation, the court may use the shirking parent's earning capacity, instead of actual earnings, as the income from which to set child support.  View our child support calculator for a general idea of how much child support you may be ordered to pay or receive.

3.  How is child support determined for serial family payers in WI?
Sometimes one or both parents are paying child support already due to a previous divorce or paternity judgment. Under those circumstances, the court may reduce that (serial family payer) parent's gross income available for child support in this new case before applying the standard support percentages and calculations discussed above.  
For a free initial consultation with dedicated Milwaukee divorce lawyers doing their best to help with your Wisconsin divorce or family law concerns 
contact Gamiño Law Offices, LLC.  We also have lawyers available to help with any of your other needs for a Milwaukee lawyer.
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4. Do I still have to pay child support in WI if the other parent isn't following the physical placement schedule?​
Even if the parent who receives child support fails to follow the physical placement schedule, the parent paying child support may not legally reduce or stop payments, unless the modification is specifically approved and ordered by the court. Doing so only hurts the child.

5. How long does child support continue?
​Child support orders end on the last day of the month of the child’s 18th birthday, or high school graduation date, whichever is later. However, child support orders do not extend beyond a child’s 19th birthday, even if the child is still in high school.

6. How is child support paid?
​A wage assignment is an order to an employer to deduct child support or family maintenance payments from an employee's pay. When the court orders a person in a divorce to pay support or maintenance, the order includes a wage assignment order for his or her employer. But, if a wage assignment order would cause the payer irreparable harm, the court may allow the person to pay directly to the State Child Support Collection Fund, which forwards the money to the other spouse.​

7. What can I do if I am unhappy with the WI child support order or if placement has changed?
​You can ask the court to reconsider its decision.  You can also appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.  Strict time limits exist for filing an appeal (usually 45 days).  Additionally, the trial court can modify child support orders, although usually you must show that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the current orders went into effect before a trial court can revise a judgment. 
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