Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support

How Much Child Support Will I Have to Pay?

The amount of child support ordered by the court will depend on the amount of placement that you have with your child(ren). If you have less than 25 percent placement with your child(ren) (based on number of overnights over the course of a year) then your child support will be based on the following percentages of your gross income:

17 percent for one child
25 percent for two children
29 percent for three children
31 percent for four children
34 percent for five or more children

If you have more than 25 percent placement with your child(ren) (based on number of overnights over the course of a year) then the court will order support based on both parents' incomes and the amount of placement that each parent has with the child(ren). While this formula reduces the amount of actual child support paid, it obligates both parties to share variable expenses proportionate to their percent of placement.

The exact formula used to calculate child support for a shared placement schedule is complicated and can be found here.

Will the Court Order Child Support On My Overtime And/Or Second Job?

Child support is based upon your gross income from all sources. This would include part-time jobs, overtime and bonuses.

Are There Any Exceptions To The Percentages Listed Above?

Yes. If you make $84,000 per year or more, there is a separate "high-income payor" formula used by the court. If you have more than one child support order, you are considered a "serial payor" and are entitled to credit for any prior orders.

Additionally, the court may deviate upward or downward from the percentage guidelines based on a number of factors such as contribution toward health cost premiums, travel expenses or extraordinary expenses. Each case can present unique circumstances which may warrant a deviation. The court has wide discretion on whether to deviate.

I Pay My Child Support, Do I Have To Pay Extra For Activities, Day Care And Medical Expenses?

Regardless of whether you are paying child support according to the shared placement formula or the primary placement formula, both parties are obligated to share equally in any unreimbursed medical expenses. The court can also allocate the responsibility and cost, for carrying health insurance for the child(ren).

Variable expenses such as school activities and day care only require a contribution if it is separately ordered by the court or if you are paying support under the shared placement formula. If you are under a shared placement formula then you are responsible for variable expenses in proportion to the amount of placement time you have. For instance, if you have your child(ren) 35 percent of the time, then you are obligated to pay 35 percent of the variable expenses under the child support guidelines. The court, however, can also order a party to contribute to variable expenses even if they do not have shared placement after considering certain factors which are set forth in the statutes.

Can I Sue For Unpaid Child Support?

If you are not receiving the child support that you are entitled to receive by court order, there are several options that can be taken to recover support. You can contact an attorney to discuss pursuing a contempt or enforcement option for past due support.

We represent individuals in child support matters in Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties. To schedule a consultation with a child support lawyer, please call our firm at (414) 939-0529 or email us online.