Child support: should I get an adjustment?

My children’s mother and I are divorced, and she recently received a big promotion and raise at her work. Now I think I’m paying a disproportionate share of the child support. What can I do to get it adjusted? Should I be concerned about how any adjustments may affect my tax situation?

You may be able to have the amount you pay in child support reviewed if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a significant change in income or a serious illness or disability, according to attorney Maureen Kinney.

A change in child support would not affect your income tax situation. Child support is not taxable income to the recipient or a deduction to the payer. This is in contrast to the situation with spousal maintenance which is a tax deduction to the payer and is taxed as income to the recipient.

If you do not have the children at least 25 percent of the overnights, then your child support obligation is a simple calculation – you pay 17 percent of your gross income for one child, 25 percent for two, 29 percent for three, 31 percent for four and 34 percent for five or more.

If you are a shared-time payer, which means you have them more than 25 percent of the overnights, the calculation formula includes a consideration of both of your incomes and the percentage of overnights you each have them.

Assuming you each have the children an equal amount of time, an increase in income by the mother would have an impact on the formula. Depending on the size of the raise, you could end up getting a payment from her, or at least a reduction in your payment.

If you are a shared-time payer, then you also have the responsibility for costs of clothing, food and other expenses while the children are in your care. In addition, you would split such costs as daycare, tuition, school lunches and extracurricular activities based on the percentage of time that the children are with you, such as 50/50 or 60/40.

For more information about family law in Wisconsin, contact Maureen Kinney at 608-784-5678

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