Register March 2022 No. 795
Chapter DCF 150
CHILD SUPPORT STANDARD
Determining the child support obligation.
Determining the child support obligation in special circumstances.
Ch. DCF 150 Note
Chapter HSS 80 was renumbered chapter DWD 40 by emergency rule effective October 1, 1998. Chapter HSS 80 as it existed on July 31, 1999 was renumbered chapter DWD 40, Register, July, 1999, No. 523
, eff. 8-1-99. Chapter DWD 40 was renumbered to chapter DCF 150 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
Section 49.22 (9)
, Stats., requires the department to adopt and publish a standard to be used by courts in determining child support obligations. The standard is to be based on a percentage of the gross income and assets of either or both parents.
The percentage standard established in this chapter is based on an analysis of national studies, including a study done by Jacques Van der Gaag as part of the Child Support Project of the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, Madison, entitled “On Measuring the Cost of Children," which disclose the amount of income and disposable assets that parents use to raise their children. The standard is based on the principle that a child's standard of living should, to the degree possible, not be adversely affected because his or her parents are not living together. It determines the percentage of a parent's income and potential income from assets that parents should contribute toward the support of children if the family does not remain together. The standard determines the minimum amount each parent is expected to contribute to the support of their children. It expects that the custodial parent shares his or her income directly with their children. It also presumes that the basic needs of the children are being met. This latter presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the needs of the children are not being met.
The rules also prescribe procedures for determining equitable child support obligations under a variety of financial and family circumstances.
This chapter applies to any petition for a temporary or final order for child support of a marital or nonmarital child in an action affecting a family under ch. 767
, Stats., any stipulated child support settlement under s. 767.34
, Stats., or any revision of judgment under s. 767.59
Effect of rule change.
A modification of any provision in this chapter shall not in and of itself be considered a substantial change in circumstances sufficient to justify a revision of a judgment or order under s. 767.59
DCF 150.01 Note
Note: A modification of any provision in this chapter shall apply to orders established after the effective date of the modification.
DCF 150.01 History
Cr. Register, January, 1987, No. 373
, eff. 2-1-87; r. (2) (b) to (d), Register, August, 1987, No. 380
, eff. 9-1-87; am. (1), r. and recr. (2), Register, February, 1995, No. 470
, eff. 3-1-95; correction in (1) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register January 2003 No. 565
; CR 03-022
: cr. (3) Register December 2003 No. 576
, eff. 1-1-04; corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register June 2007 No. 618
; CR 09-036
: am. (1) Register November 2009 No. 647
, eff. 1-1-10.
DCF 150.02 Definitions.
In this chapter:
“Acknowledgement of paternity" means both the mother and the father voluntarily signed and filed a form under s. 69.15 (3) (b) 1.
, Stats., with the state registrar.
“Adjusted monthly income available for child support" means the monthly income at which the child support obligation is determined for serial family payers, which is the payer's monthly income available for child support less the amount of any existing legal obligation for child support.
“Basic support costs" means food, shelter, clothing, transportation, personal care, and incidental recreational costs.
“Child" means the natural or adopted child of the payer.
“Child support" or “child support obligation" means an obligation to support a marital child either in an intact family or as a result of a court order, an obligation to support the payer's nonmarital child as a result of a court order, or an obligation to support the payer's nonmarital child in an intact family as a result of adoption, maternity or an acknowledgement of paternity.
“Court" means a circuit court judge or family court commissioner.
“Current 6-month treasury bill rate" means the yield of a U.S. government security with a term of 6 months.
“Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
“Dependent household member" means a person for whom a taxpayer is entitled to an exemption for the taxable year under 26 USC 151
“Designated percentage” means the applicable percentage of a parent's monthly income available for child support or adjusted monthly income available for child support under s. DCF 150.035 (2)
or 150.04 (4)
DCF 150.02 Note
Note: The standard is based on national studies of the percentage of income used to support a child or children, with adjustment downward of those percentages to reflect costs incurred by the payer for what used to be called visitation under Wisconsin law and is now called physical placement and to maintain health insurance for the child or children.
“Equivalent care” means a period of time during which the parent cares for the child that is not overnight, but is determined by the court to require the parent to assume the basic support costs that are substantially equivalent to what the parent would spend to care for the child overnight. Blocks of time with the child of at least 6 hours may be considered the equivalent of a half-day if a meal is provided during that time period. Two half-day blocks may be considered the equivalent of an overnight.
“Family support" means an amount which a person is legally obligated to pay pursuant to an order under s. 767.531
, Stats., as a substitute for child support under s. 767.511
, Stats., and maintenance payments under s. 767.56
“Federal dependency exemption" means the deduction allowed in computing taxable income pursuant to 26 USC 151
for a child of the taxpayer who has not attained the age of 19 or who is a student.
“Federal poverty guidelines" means the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. department of health and human services under the authority of 42 USC 9902
Net proceeds resulting from worker's compensation or other personal injury awards intended to replace income.
Voluntary deferred compensation, employee contributions to any employee benefit plan or profit–sharing, and employee contributions to any pension or retirement account whether or not the account provides for tax deferral or avoidance.
Veterans disability compensation benefits and military allowances, including basic allowances for subsistence and housing, but excluding amounts attributable to area variable housing costs.
Undistributed income of a corporation, including a closely–held corporation, or any partnership, including a limited or limited liability partnership, in which the parent has an ownership interest sufficient to individually exercise control or to access the earnings of the business, unless the income included is an asset under s. DCF 150.03 (4)
. In this paragraph:
“Undistributed income" means federal taxable income of the closely held corporation, partnership, or other entity plus depreciation claimed on the entity's federal income tax return less a reasonable allowance for economic depreciation.
A “reasonable allowance for economic depreciation" means the amount of depreciation on assets computed using the straight line method
and useful lives as determined under federal income tax laws and regulations.
DCF 150.02 Note
Income considered under this subsection is subject to the adjustments under s. DCF 150.03 (2)
All other income, whether taxable or not, except that gross income does not include any of the following:
Public assistance benefits under ch. 49
, Stats., except that child care subsidy payments under s. 49.155
, Stats., shall be considered income to a child care provider.
This subsection defines gross income used in establishing a child support order under this chapter and may not be used to limit income withholding under s. 767.75
, Stats., or the assignment of worker's compensation benefits for child support under s. 102.27 (2)
DCF 150.02 Note
Note: This paragraph clarifies that although the portion of worker's compensation awards not intended to replace income is excluded from gross income in establishing a child support order, the full worker's compensation benefit is assignable for the collection of child support.
“Income imputed based on earning capacity" means the amount of income that exceeds the parent's actual income and represents the parent's ability to earn, based on the parent's education, training and recent work experience, earnings during previous periods, current physical and mental health, history of child care responsibilities as the parent with primary physical placement, and the availability of work in or near the parent's community.
“Income imputed from assets" means the amount of income ascribed to assets that are unproductive and to which income has been diverted to avoid paying child support or from which income is necessary to maintain the child or children at the standard of living they would have if they were living with both parents, and that exceeds the actual income from the assets.
“Income modified for business expenses" means the amount of income after adding wages paid to dependent household members, adding undistributed income that the court determines is not reasonably necessary for the growth of the business, and subtracting business expenses that the court determines are reasonably necessary for the production of that income or operation of the business and that may differ from the determination of allowable business expenses for tax purposes.
“Intact family" means a family in which the child or children and the payer reside in the same household and the payer shares his or her income directly with the child or children and has a legal obligation to support the child or children.
“Legal obligation for child support" has the meaning prescribed for “child support" or “child support obligation" in sub. (5)
“Low-income payer" means a payer for whom the court uses the monthly support amount provided in the schedule in Appendix C based on the court's determination that the payer's total economic circumstances limit his or her ability to pay support at the level provided under s. DCF 150.035
and the payer's income available for child support is at a level set forth in the schedule in Appendix C.
“Marital child" means a child determined to be a marital child under s. 767.803
“Monthly income available for child support" means the monthly income at which the child support obligation is determined, which is calculated by adding the parent's annual gross income or, if applicable, the parent's annual income modified for business expenses; the parent's annual income imputed based on earning capacity; and the parent's annual income imputed from assets, and dividing that total by 12.
“Parent" means the natural or adoptive parent of the child.
“Payee" means the parent who is the recipient of child support as a result of a court order.
“Payer" means the parent who incurs a legal obligation for child support as a result of a court order.
“Serial-family parent" means a parent with an existing legal obligation for child support who incurs an additional legal obligation for child support in a subsequent family as a result of a court order.
“Shared-placement parent" means a parent who has a court-ordered period of placement of at least 25% and is ordered by the court to assume the child's basic support costs in proportion to the time that the parent has placement of the child.
Shared-placement payer” means the shared-placement parent who is determined to owe a greater support amount than the other parent under the calculation in s. DCF 150.035 (1)
“Split-placement payer" means a payer who has 2 or more children and who has physical placement of one or more but not all of the children.
“Variable costs" means the reasonable costs above basic support costs incurred by or on behalf of a child, including but not limited to, the cost of child care, tuition, a child's special needs, and other activities that involve substantial cost.
“Worksheet" means the department's percentage standard worksheet, printed as Appendix B to this chapter.
DCF 150.02 History
Cr. Register, January, 1987, No. 373
, eff. 2-1-87; r. (2) (b) to (d), r. and recr. (12) to (14), renum. (26) to (28) to be (27) to (29) and am. (29), cr. (26), Register, August, 1987, No. 380
, eff. 9-1-87; r. and recr., Register, February, 1995, No. 470
, eff. 3-1-95; CR 03-022
: am. (2), r. and recr. (3), r. (4), renum. (5) through (10) to be (4) through (9), am. (8), cr. (10), r. and recr. (13), (20), (25), (28) and (30), renum. (14), (16), (17) and (18) to be (16), (17), (18) and (20), am. (16) and (18), cr. (14), am. (15), renum. (19), (22), (23) and (24) to be (22), (23), (24) and (25), cr. (19), r. and recr. (21), renum. (26) and (27) to be (27) and (28) and am., cr. (26), r. and recr. (29), renum. (31) to be (30) Register December 2003 No. 576
, eff. 1-1-04; corrections in (11) and (13) (b) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register June 2007 No. 618
; corrections in (8), (13) (a) 9., (19), (26), and (28) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
: emerg. cr. (12m), eff. 6-27-08; CR 08-066
: cr. (12m) Register December 2008 No. 636
, eff. 1-1-09; CR 09-036
: am. (25) and (26), cr. (25m) Register November 2009 No. 647
, eff. 1-1-10; CR 16-075
: am. (10), (13) 7., 8. Register June 2018 No. 750
, eff. 7-1-18; 2021 Wis. Act 35
: cr. (9m), am. (19), (26), r. (28) Register June 2021 No. 786
, eff. 12-1-21; correction in (26) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register December 2021 No. 792
; 2021 Wis. Act 160: am. (13) (a) 8. Register March 2022 No. 795, eff. 4-1-22.
Determining income available for child support.
The court shall determine a parent's monthly income available for child support by adding together the parent's annual gross income or, if applicable, the parent's annual income modified for business expenses; the parent's annual income imputed based on earning capacity; and the parent's annual income imputed from assets, and dividing that total by 12. This may be done by completing the worksheet in Appendix B, although use of the worksheet for this purpose is not required.
Determining income modified for business expenses.
In determining a parent's monthly income available for child support under sub. (1)
, the court may adjust a parent's gross income as follows: