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Revisions to Child support in Wisconsin

Effective July 1, 2018, there are changes to the child support laws in the state of Wisconsin. The standard for determining child support changed, including revising “variable costs” where parents have shared or equal placement of their children.

Under the previous law, “variable costs” were defined as “the reasonable costs above basic support costs incurred by or on behalf of the child, including but not limited to, the cost of child care, tuition, a child’s special needs, and other activities that involve substantial cost.” Under the old DCF guideline, parties were required to share variable expenses in relation to the percentage of time spent with the minor children.

Under the changes in the law, the guidelines now require that variable expenses be shared by the parents and is determined based on a list of variable costs as agreed to by the parties or by an order of the court, based on the lists of the items proposed by the parties and furnished to the court. Included in that list, are transportation expenses.

Another major change in the DCF guidelines as of July 1, 2018 regarding support, involves “equivalent care.” Under the new guidelines, there are provisions that permit the court to apply the shared-time formula in situations where a parent is taking care of a child for periods of time during the day, and where the court determines such care to be the equivalent of overnight care. DCF guidelines now defines “equivalent care” to provide that blocks of time spent with the children must be of a time frame of at least 6 hours and may be treated as the equivalent of a half day, if a meal is provided that that same time frame.

In addition, courts are allowed to consider two, half-day blocks as the equivalent care as overnight placement. When courts calculate periods of physical placement based on equivalent care, the total number of overnights can exceed 365. The period of placement for each parent is determined by calculating the number of overnights or equivalent care ordered and then dividing that number by the total number of overnights in a year.

There were also revisions to medical costs under the new guidelines. Under the revisions to DCF guidelines, the measure of reasonable cost for private health insurance has been increased from 5% of each parent’s gross monthly income to 10% of each parents gross monthly income.

If you have questions on child support in the state of Wisconsin, contact the experienced family lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. today for a complimentary consultation by phone or in person.

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