Generally, you can seek a child support order against the other parent for any and all minor children who live with you, whether you are married or unmarried.
If you are seeking child support against the child’s father, and you are unmarried, you will first have to establish a legal relationship between the child and the father, which is called paternity. This could have been done at the hospital if the father signed an acknowledgement of paternity or by another legal process. If you are married, paternity is automatically established once the child is born.1
1 Wis. Stat. § 891.41(1)(a)
Child support can be filed for on its own or as part of a divorce action, a separation action, a custody action, or a paternity action.1 It’s also possible that Wisconsin Child Support Program can help you set up a child support order if you apply for child support services.
1 Wis. Stat. § 767.511
Generally, a child support obligation will continue until the child reaches the age of 18. However, the judge will order that the support continue until the child’s 19th birthday if the child is finishing high school or its equivalent.1
1 Wis. Stat. § 767.511(4)
Generally, the judge will determine how much money a parent will pay to support the child based on the state’s guidelines. These guidelines involve a complex formula, but basically the judge looks at both parents’ incomes, your child’s needs, and the custody arrangements. If you would like to see all of the factors that go into determining support, you can visit Wisconsin Guidelines for Setting Child Support Payment Amounts.
An order of joint legal custody does not affect the amount of child support ordered.1 To get a rough idea of how much support you may receive, you can visit the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families’ child support calculator.
Note: If the custodial parent violates the non-custodial parent’s physical placement rights, this does not give the non-custodial parent an excuse to not pay child support.2
1 Wis. Stat. § 767.511(7)
2 Wis. Stat. § 767.511(3)