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What are Wisconsin child custody and child support laws?

UPDATED: March 2, 2020

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Like other courts across the nation, Wisconsin family courts, encourage divorcing parents to amicably work out child custody and child support issues outside of the courts. Courts maintain that agreements managed out-of-court are likely in the best interests of the children involved. If parents are unable to come to such agreements, Wisconsin courts will step in to decide issues of child custody, visitation, and child support--always with the best interests of the children in mind.

Wisconsin Child Custody

The court always makes an award of child custody based on the best interests of the children. Each petition for divorce filed must also include a comprehensive and detailed Permanent Parenting Plan, the objective of which is to minimize any trauma to the child. The provisions of the Permanent Parenting Plan must detail how that parent will promote the child’s best interest through schooling, physical care, traveling expenses, individual parental authority, residence options and rules. The agreement must be voluntary, so that one parent’s failure to comply with the agreement does not legally affect its validity as applied to the other parent, and so that the court can faithfully approve proper agreements.

Residence options are typically limited by the court, as frequent alternation between parents’ residences is discouraged. The exceptions to this general rule are situations when abuse, abandonment, or harm are evident risks to the child, or when both parties can demonstrate a solid record of cooperation and effective parenting despite, or even because of, the alternation in residence.

Wisconsin Child Support

Wisconsin courts use the Percentage of Income formula to calculate how much a parent must provide for support of the child or children. The court requires a parent to pay a certain percentage of his or her income for child support. The percentage is based on the number of children. For example, a non-custodial parent with one child might be required to pay 20% of his or her net income as child support. In some situations both parents may be required to pay child support.

Consult with a Wisconsin divorce lawyer for further information on child support and child custody matters.

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