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Wisconsin Child Custody and Support Guidelines


Wisconsin Child Custody and Support Guidelines:

Joint or sole child custody, "legal custody and physical placement," may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and the following:

  • The preference of the child.
  • The wishes of the parents.
  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, religion, and community.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members.
  • Any findings or recommendations of a neutral mediator.
  • The availability of childcare.
  • Any history of spouse or child abuse.
  • Any significant drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Whether 1 parent is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child's relationship with the other parent.
  • Any parenting plan or other written agreement between the spouses regarding the child.
  • The amount of quality time that each parent has spent with the child in the past.
  • Any changes that a parent proposes in order to spend more time with the child in the future.
  • The age of the child and the child's developmental and educational needs.
  • The cooperation and communication between the parents and whether either parent unreasonably refuses to cooperate with the other.
  • The need for regularly-occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement in order to provide predictability and stability for the child.
  • Any other factors except the sex and race of the parent. [Based on Wisconsin Statutes; Section 767.41].


Wisconsin uses the "Percentage of Income" standard to determine the level of child support. Either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support and health care expenses. The factors to be considered are:

  • The financial resources of the child.
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved.
  • The physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child.
  • The financial resources, earning capacity, needs, and obligations of the parents.
  • The age and health of the child, including the need for health insurance.
  • The desirability of the parent having custody remaining in the home as a full-time parent.
  • The cost of daycare to the parent having custody if that parent works outside the home or the value of the childcare services performed by that parent.
  • The tax consequences to each parent.
  • The award of substantial periods of physical placement to both parents [joint custody].
  • Any extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement.
  • The best interests of the child.
  • Any other relevant factors.

The support amount must be expressed as a fixed sum unless the parties have stipulated to expressing the amount as a percentage of the payer’s income. The court may require that child support payments be guaranteed by an assignment of income, that the payments be made through the clerk of the court, or that health insurance be provided for the children. The court may also order a parent to seek employment. The court may order spousal maintenance and child support payments be combined into a "family support" payment. [Based on Wisconsin Statutes; Sections 767.511]

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