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Legal Statutes: Wisconsin

UPDATED August 7, 2017

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Subchapter VI. Support and Maintenance

back to top767.511. Child support

(1) When ordered. When the court approves a stipulation for child support under s. 767.34, enters a judgment of annulment, divorce, or legal separation, or enters an order or a judgment in a paternity action or in an action under s. 767.001(1)(f) or (j), 767.501, or 767.805(3), the court shall do all of the following:

(a) Order either or both parents to pay an amount reasonable or necessary to fulfill a duty to support a child. 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 and the requirements under s. 767.34(2)(am)1. to 3. are satisfied.

(b) Ensure that the parties have stipulated which party, if either is eligible, will claim each child as an exemption for federal income tax purposes under 26 USC 151(c)(1)(B), or as an exemption for state income tax purposes under s. 71.07(8)(b) or under the laws of another state. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement about the tax exemption for each child, the court shall make the decision in accordance with state and federal tax laws. In making its decision, the court shall consider whether the parent who is assigned responsibility for the child's health care expenses under s. 767.513 is covered under a health insurance policy or plan, including a self-insured plan, that is not subject to s. 632.897(10) and that conditions coverage of a dependent child on whether the child is claimed by the insured parent as an exemption for purposes of federal or state income taxes.

(c) In addition to ordering child support for a child under par. (a), assign as a support obligation responsibility for, and direct the manner of payment of, the child's health care expenses under s. 767.513.

(1g) Consideration of financial information. In determining child support payments, the court may consider all relevant financial information or other information relevant to the parent's earning capacity, including information reported under s. 49.22(2m) to the department or the county child support agency under s. 59.53(5).

(1j) Percentage standard generally required. Except as provided in sub. (1m), the court shall determine child support payments by using the percentage standard established by the department under s. 49.22(9).

(1m) Deviation from standard; factors. Upon request by a party, the court may modify the amount of child support payments determined under sub. (1j) if, after considering the following factors, the court finds by the greater weight of the credible evidence that use of the percentage standard is unfair to the child or to any of the parties:

(a) The financial resources of the child.

(b) The financial resources of both parents.

(bj) Maintenance received by either party.

(bp) The needs of each party in order to support himself or herself at a level equal to or greater than that established under 42 USC 9902(2).

(bz) The needs of any person, other than the child, whom either party is legally obligated to support.

(c) If the parties were married, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended in annulment, divorce or legal separation.

(d) The desirability that the custodian remain in the home as a full-time parent.

(e) The cost of child care if the custodian works outside the home, or the value of custodial services performed by the custodian if the custodian remains in the home.

(ej) The award of substantial periods of physical placement to both parents.

(em) Extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement under s. 767.41.

(f) The physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the child, including any costs for health insurance as provided for under s. 767.513.

(g) The child's educational needs.

(h) The tax consequences to each party.

(hm) The best interests of the child.

(hs) The earning capacity of each parent, based on each parent's education, training and work experience and the availability of work in or near the parent's community.

(i) Any other factors which the court in each case determines are relevant.

(1n) Deviation from standard; record. If the court finds under sub. (1m) that use of the percentage standard is unfair to the child or the requesting party, the court shall state in writing or on the record the amount of support that would be required by using the percentage standard, the amount by which the court's order deviates from that amount, its reasons for finding that use of the percentage standard is unfair to the child or the party, its reasons for the amount of the modification and the basis for the modification.

(2) Separate fund or trust. The court may protect and promote the best interests of the minor children by setting aside a portion of the child support which either party is ordered to pay in a separate fund or trust for the support, education and welfare of such children.

(3) Effect of physical placement violation. Violation of physical placement rights by the custodial parent does not constitute reason for failure to meet child support obligations.

(4) Age of child eligible for support. The court shall order either party or both to pay for the support of any child of the parties who is less than 18 years old, or any child of the parties who is less than 19 years old if the child is pursuing an accredited course of instruction leading to the acquisition of a high school diploma or its equivalent.

(5) Liability for past support. Subject to ss. 767.805(4m) and 767.89(4), liability for past support is limited to the period after the birth of the child.

(6) Interest on arrearage. A party ordered to pay child support under this section shall pay simple interest at the rate of 1% per month on any amount in arrears that is equal to or greater than the amount of child support due in one month. If the party no longer has a current obligation to pay child support, interest at the rate of 1% per month shall accrue on the total amount of child support in arrears, if any. Interest under this subsection is in lieu of interest computed under s. 807. 01(4), 814.04(4), or 815.05(8) and is paid to the department or its designee under s. 767.57. Except as provided in s. 767.57(1m) and except as required under federal statutes or regulations, the department or its designee shall apply all payments received for child support as follows:

(a) First, to payment of child support due within the calendar month during which the payment is received.

(b) Second, to payment of unpaid child support due before the payment is received.

(c) Third, to payment of interest accruing on unpaid child support.

(7) Effect of joint legal custody. An order of joint legal custody under s. 767.41 does not affect the amount of child support ordered.
L.1977, c. 105, § 40, eff. Feb. 1, 1978.

L.1977, c. 418, §§ 704om, 747p, eff. May 19, 1978.

St.1977, § 247.25.

L.1979, c. 32, §§ 50, 92(4), eff. July 20, 1979.

L.1979, c. 196, § 28, eff. Aug. 1, 1980.

L.1981, c. 20, § 1785, eff. July 31, 1981.

1983 Act 27, §§ 1760 to 1763, eff. July 2, 1983.

1985 Act 29, §§ 2359, 2366 to 2367h, eff. July 20, 1985.

1985 Act 29, §§ 2360 to 2365, eff. July 1, 1987.

1987 Act 27, § 2135c, eff. Oct. 1, 1987.

1987 Act 37, § 1, eff. Aug. 14, 1987.

1987 Act 355, §§ 38m to 40, eff. May 3, 1988.

1989 Act 31, §§ 2754r, 2754w, eff. Aug. 9, 1989.

1989 Act 212, § 8, eff. April 28, 1990.

1991 Act 39, §§ 3535, 3536, eff. Aug. 15, 1991.

1993 Act 481, §§ 80 to 84, 90, eff. June 11, 1994.

1993 Act 481, § 89, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

1995 Act 279, §§ 13, 14, eff. May 9, 1996.

1995 Act 404, §§ 234, 235, eff. July 1, 1996.

1997 Act 27, §§ 4969, 4972, eff. Oct. 14, 1997.

1997 Act 27, §§ 4971, 4976, 4977.

1997 Act 35, § 475, eff. Dec. 31, 1997.

1997 Act 191, §§ 393, 397, 399, eff. May 1, 1998.

1997 Act 191, §§ 394 to 396, eff. April 1, 1998.

1997 Act 191, § 398.

1999 Act 9, §§ 3054df to 3054dk, eff. May 1, 2000.

1999 Act 32, § 338, eff. April 19, 2000.

2001 Act 16, § 3786f, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

St.2003, § 767.25(title), (1) to (4), (5) to (7).

2005 Act 443, §§ 103, 105, 219, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

2009 Act 185, § 170, eff. March 30, 2010.

2011 Act 32, § 3482, eff. July 1, 2011.