What Can Child Support Be Used For?

What You Need to Know About Child Support Payments in Wisconsin

When you hear the words “child support” you may think of contributing financially to cover a child’s basic needs such as food and clothing. However, as any parent knows, the cost of raising a child includes more than the expenses for a backpack and a new pair of sneakers. So what is child support for and – perhaps more importantly for the parent providing the child support — what exactly can child support be spent on?

Wisconsin child support guidelines

Wisconsin follows guidelines called the Percentage of Income Standard in determining child support payment amounts. These guidelines consider several factors including the parents’ income, how much time each parent is spending with the child, and whether the parent is providing financial support to any other children.

Child support expenses

Having and raising a child is an expensive endeavor. Child support is designed to cover some of the basic expenses including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal care
  • Housing
  • Health insurance
  • School supplies
  • Tuition expenses
  • Activities
  • Transportation

Because all family situations — and all children — are different, there may be additional expenses depending upon individual circumstances.

How do I know how child support is being spent?

Parents who receive child support are not required to keep records of child support spending, nor are they required to submit any documents to the Wisconsin courts to demonstrate how the funds are being used. There is an assumption that such parents are covering the required expenses related to raising the child and the courts will not assume responsibility for monitoring their spending habits. Questions about whether a child’s basic needs are being met are addressed by revising placement, rather than by restricting or modifying child support.

My ex is spending child support on personal items. What can I do?

Because the courts do not require parents who receive support to provide proof of child support spending, there is often the suspicion that the parent could be using child support payments for other, unrelated expenses. Unfortunately, the court will not take action unless the needs of the child are being neglected. Instead, you and your ex-spouse may be ordered to mediation, in an effort to resolve any care or placement issues. In extreme cases of neglect, county child protective services may need to become involved.

Concerns about child support? We can help

Completing the divorce or paternity process is difficult enough; concerns regarding child support only add another set of challenges. The Wisconsin divorce lawyers at the family firm of Bandle & Zaeske LLP have been helping families through divorce, child support, child custody, and other family-related issues for more than 50 years combined. Our skilled team is dedicated, compassionate, and shares a track record of success. We are here to help. Contact a member of our team today at 414-359-1424 or online to schedule a confidential consultation.

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