Child Support and Divorce in Wisconsin

When going through a divorce with children the topic of child support will always be involved. Child support is money paid from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. What the court is looking to establish for the child in a divorce is an equal standard of living in both homes.

For decades Wisconsin has used a percentage schedule when one parent has primary placement of the child, which means one parent has the child less than 92 overnights during the year. Types of placement under 92 overnights include every other weekend.

If both parents have the children for more than 92 overnights during the year then the placement schedule will no longer be considered primary placement. Instead the placement schedule will be considered a joint placement schedule. When a joint placement schedule is in place a combination of the straight percentage and percentage of time will be calculated to determine child support.

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Child support, alimony and property division can be very contentious topics while negotiating a divorce settlement. While child support may be something an individual does not want to pay, this tack and intention will be viewed poorly by the court. Please keep this in mind while going through the process.

Does Having Custody Over My Children Affect My Maintenance?

To answer the question briefly, yes, having custody of children affects maintenance payments.

In the case Enders v. Enders, 147 WIs.2d 138, 432 N.W.2d 638 (Ct. App. 1988), the father won custody over his two children. As a result, the court calculated the living expenses that incur from having children and reduced the amount of maintenance the husband had to provide for the wife. Maintenance payments can be reduced in this instance, but you won't stop making maintenance payments all together.

Is Child Support Ever Based on Future Earnings?

It is most likely that the court would base it off your current earnings.

It was established in Wallen v. Wallen, 139 Wis.2d 217, 407 N.W.2d 293 (Ct. App. 1987), that child support can be based off future earnings, however only in certain circumstances. Child support should only be based on the capacity to earn finances when there is a finding based on evidence that the parent was failing to exercise his or her capacity to earn because of a disregard of his or her support obligations. If this is not apparent, the court should base support off of actual earnings.


Can a Support Order Enforced From a Different State?

Just because the court might accept registration, enforcement is a separate issue.

In the case of Davanis v. Davanis 132 Wis. 2d 318, 392 N.W.2d 108 (Ct. App. 1986), a situation occurred where the wife had moved to Wisconsin from California and registered the divorce judgment. When the husband did not appear, she filed a show cause asking why support for their child should not be increased. The husband's attorney notified the court in Wisconsin that they did not maintain jurisdiction over the support increase. The wife appealed and the court of appeals affirmed.

Is College Tuition Part of Child Support?

There is no legal obligation to support a child beyond the age of 18 years. If you wish to help out your child with paying for college tuition, it is completely voluntary and cannot be enforced based off child support.

Can My Ex Motion for an Increase in Child Support Even If I Make Payments on Time?

Unfortunately, she has every right to do so. This has been demonstrated time and again. The fact that you are current in your payments has no bearing on whether she can motion for an increase in payment amount for child support. Also, extra expenses for a child's activities are a separate issue to be aware of and whether or not you have joint custody and pay child support.

In the case of Jeske v. Jeske 138 Wis. 2d 268, 405 N.W.2d 757 (Ct. App. 1987) (Affirmed by 144 Wis. 2d 364, 424 N.W.2d 196 (1988)), the husband sought to dismiss a motion brought forth by his ex-wife to seek an increase based on the notion that she was not represented by the Division of Child Support Enforcement because he was not late on any payments. The trial court dismissed the ex-wife's motion. She appealed, and the court of appeals reversed. However, this does not mean that court will grant her this increase. There are several factors that may attribute to the justification of an increase, including whether their was a significant change in your income.

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