Wisconsin Changes Child Support Guidelines By: Attorney Benjamin Anderson Anderson and Anderson Law Office
The state of Wisconsin made changes to the administrative code regarding the payment of child support and variable expenses. These changes became effective on July 1, 2018.
Variable expenses are defined in D CF 150.02 (29) as “the reasonable costs above basic child support costs incurred by or on behalf of a child, including but no limited to, the cost of child care, tuition, a child’s needs, and other activities that involve substantial cost.” Variable expenses are usually paid by each parent in proportion to each parent’s percentage of physical placement. Under the old law, courts could order reimbursement between parents even if one of the parent’s did not agree to incurring the cost in the first instance. The new updated code requires that variable cost shared by the parties need to be determined on a list of variable costs that are agreed upon by the parties. The motivation behind this change of administrative is to limit the number of post-judgement actions related to variable costs. In most cases, parties are awarded joint custody of children. Many parent’s incur variable expenses not approved by the other parent despite a joint custody order. By requiring the parties to agree to a list of variable expenses, it is the hope that the rate of post-judgement litigation may decrease.
New law regarding equivalent care: the new administrative code allows the court to apply the shared-time payer formula when a parent cares for minor children at times that are not overnight but are determined to be the equivalent of an overnight. A half day could be met by a parent if that parent spends at least six hours with a minor child and a meal is provided during that time. A court may consider two (2) half-day periods equivalent to one overnight. To calculate the percentage of placement in relation to child support, the number of overnights and equivalent care are divided by the number of total overnights in a year. The number of overnights now may exceed 365 if there is equivalent care. Below is an example of an equivalent care time calculation.
There were many other changes relating to the calculations of child support including changes in medical support percentages, adjustment for a child receiving social security, the low-income payer formula, and the serial-family formula.
The skilled attorneys at Anderson and Anderson Law Office can address any questions regarding the calculation of child support. Please schedule an appointment or an initial consultation by calling the office at (262) 654-0999.