It is natural that you still want to be there for your child after a divorce. Being available physically to support your children is a clear way to do this, but so is being there financially. Properly supporting your child monetarily will help ensure that they have access to good education, healthy food, effective medical care and activities that will help them grow.

Courts identify this need, and that is why they will often mandate child support. You are probably familiar with child support; it is money the non-custodial parent (the parent your child does not live with) must pay to the custodial parent. Determining the amount you will have to pay requires fairly complex calculations based on Wisconsin laws.

Calculating Child Support

One of the cornerstones of how Wisconsin decides how much child support a parent must pay is by the number of overnights the child spends with the non-custodial parent. If you are paying child support and the other parent has sole custody, you will have to pay a flat percentage of your gross income.

Depending on the number of children you have, you will be required to pay the following percentages:

  • 1 child – 17 percent
  • 2 children – 25 percent
  • 3 children – 29 percent
  • 4 children – 31 percent
  • 5 children – 34 percent

It is important to note that you will need to pay this percent from your gross income. Your gross income is the amount of money you make before taxes and other fees, and includes tips, pension, bonuses, mileage and any other forms of income you receive.

Child support in shared custody

The amount of child support you will be expected to pay if you and the other parent have shared custody is calculated much differently. If your child spends at least 25 percent of their time with you, or 92 overnights per year, the court may use the Wisconsin Shared-Placement formula.

This formula considers:

  • The number of children you are supporting
  • The amounts of money you and the other parent make
  • The amount of time you spend with the child
  • The basic support costs of the child

To save time, the state offers several estimate calculators. Keep in mind that these are just estimates.

There are several factors that can influence the amount of support you will need to pay as the non-custodial parent. A key factor is, again, the number of overnights the child spends with you.

Wisconsin identifies that money is not the only thing that a child needs to grow up healthy and happy. The court’s primary concern is the child’s wellbeing, and wellbeing is often greatly influenced by having parenting time with both of their parents.