Child Support Attorneys In Waukesha, Wisconsin
No matter what your feelings on the matter, the truth is clear: more and more couples these days are separating or divorcing. When there are children involved, this means that plans must be made between the two parents regarding child custody and child support. These are not easy issues to address, which is why many separating couples find it incredibly helpful to hire a family law attorney to guide them through this process.
If you’re planning on establishing or modifying a child support plan in Wisconsin, reach out to a child support lawyer in Waukesha. At D'Angelo & Grabow, LLP, we’re here to help individuals and families navigate these emotional issues. We’re proud to serve clients throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including Pewaukee, Milwaukee, Sussex, Washington County, and anywhere else in the state. Set up a consultation today.
Understanding Child Support In Wisconsin
It’s very common for child support to be awarded to one parent after a separation or divorce to ensure the needs of the child are still being met even though their living arrangements have changed. Sometimes, child support amounts can be decided on between the two parents with no need for the court’s intervention. If you’re on relatively good speaking terms with your co-parent and would like to address this on your own, you and the other parent can stipulate a child support amount and, in most cases, the court will adopt your agreement.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
As a general guideline, to determine child support, Wisconsin uses a “percentage standard” for arrangements when one parent has placement of a child for more than 75% of the time. This simply states that the parent with less than 25% of the placement time will pay a certain percentage of their gross income depending on how many children there are. For example, if you have one child, that parent will pay 17% of their gross monthly income and 25% for two children.
If the two parents share placement of a child (meaning each parent has the child for at least 25% of the time) or have older minor children from other relationships, these are other considerations that will be taken into account when deciding the support amount and can have a significant effect on the final support calculation.
In addition, the court can consider other factors when determining child support. These factors may include:
- The cost of health, dental, and vision insurance for the child and who is paying that cost
- The income of each parent and their earning capacity
- The child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
- The cost of child care
- Travel expenses incurred by a parent in exercising the right to physical placement
- The best interests of the child
In cases where one parent intentionally remains unemployed or underemployed in order to lower their amount of available income, a judge can order something called “imputed income.” This means that a judge will assign an income to that parent that’s equivalent to how much they could be making should they choose to work. That parent will then be required to make child support payments based on this amount.
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Modifying An Existing Arrangement
Sometimes, you’ll wish to modify an existing child support arrangement. Obtaining a child support modification will require you to show a “substantial change in circumstances” since the entry of the last order for child support. This could include losing or gaining a job that significantly changes your income, taking on a new job that requires you to relocate, a change in your health needs or the health needs of your child, or the incarceration of one of the parents. There is also a presumption in the law that every 33 months there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances which allows for consideration of a modification of child support.
If you have more than one child, child support does not automatically change when the older child turns 18 or graduates from high school if there is still another child subject to the child support order. You will need to seek a modification of the order upon each child’s emancipation.
Typically, one parent will file a petition with the courts for the modification, then a judge will hear testimony from each parent and examine evidence to decide whether or not to grant the change. However, if both parents can come to an agreement on their own for a modification, they can usually submit the revised amount to a judge. If the needs of the child are still being met, the revised amount will likely be approved.
Termination Of Child Support
Termination will automatically happen when the youngest child of the parties turns 18, however, child support can remain up to that child’s 19th birthday as long as that child is still pursuing an accredited course of instruction leading to the acquisition of a high school diploma or its equivalent. If you have a child who will turn 18 during their senior year of high school you will want to check with your county to see what you need to file to ensure child support continues until high school graduation.
Child support orders can be complicated. You should consult with an attorney before taking action. It’s never okay to simply stop paying support without court approval. Additionally, you will still be legally responsible for paying any past-due support even if termination is granted.
Contact Our Child Support Attorneys In Waukesha
No one should have to go through this emotional process alone. If you’re in the Waukesha area and are going through a divorce or separation with your co-parent and need help establishing or modifying a child support arrangement, reach out to our team at D'Angelo & Grabow, LLP by calling 262-383-2700.