Divorce Law for Support of Stepchild in Wisconsin

By Heather Frances J.D.

In Wisconsin, parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children, and this obligation continues after parents divorce. When ex-spouses remarry, the new step-parent has no legal responsibility to support the children of his new spouse, so step-parents are not obligated to pay child support for their step-children.

Calculating Child Support

Wisconsin bases child support on a set percentage of the noncustodial parent’s income. Income includes wages, interest, tips, bonuses, unemployment payments and other forms of money, property and services. Depending on the size of the family, the amount of support a noncustodial parent may pay varies from 17 percent for one child to 34 percent for five or more children. Courts make special arrangements when the children supported are from more than one family.


In Wisconsin, either parent can ask the court to modify a child support order if there is a substantial change in the family’s circumstances, such as a significant increase or decrease in the noncustodial parent’s income. Typically, requests for child support modifications may be filed in the court that issued the original child support order. However, parents may also apply for modifications through their local county Child Support Agency.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step-Parent Income

Though a step-parent is not required to provide financial support for his step-children, his income may affect the amount of child support his spouse must pay. When the noncustodial parent has more income available to pay child support, perhaps because her new spouse owns a house mortgage-free, the court can adjust the amount of child support the noncustodial parent pays. The court can also impute income to the noncustodial parent, so if the noncustodial parent quits working to live on her new spouse’s income, the court may order her to pay child support even though she does not actually earn any money.

Step-Parent Adoption

If a Wisconsin parent terminates his parental rights because a step-parent wants to adopt his child, his child support obligation ends and the step-parent assumes the legal obligation to financially support the child. The noncustodial parent no longer has custody rights or a support obligation. As a result, if the step-parent and custodial parent later divorce, the court may require the step-parent to pay child support under Wisconsin guidelines.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?


Related articles

Massachusetts' Child Support Laws

As in other states, Massachusetts parents must provide financial support for their children, even if the parents are not married. When parents divorce, their divorce court sets a child support amount that the non-custodial parent must pay toward his child's care. In Massachusetts, child support amounts are set by court guidelines and are enforceable by state law.

Do They Go by My Wife's Income For Paying Child Support in Delaware?

When Delaware couples divorce, the court issues a divorce decree describing the terms of the split, including child support, property division, child custody and alimony. When a parent remarries, his new spouse is not required to pay child support for his children from another relationship. However, the new spouse’s income can affect the calculation of child support since it impacts the available income a paying parent has available to pay toward his child support obligation.

Child Support Laws for Married Couples in the State of Georgia

Georgia parents are legally obligated to contribute financially to their child’s care, and married parents typically contribute without a court order. However, when parents divorce, courts generally enter divorce decrees that order one parent to pay a specific amount of child support to the other parent so children of the marriage continue to be provided for.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

California Law on Child Support for Stepchildren

California law demands that each biological parent financially support her child, but a stepparent isn't required to ...

How Does Louisiana's Child Support System Work?

When parents divorce, children may suffer financially from the decreased household income level. Child support orders ...

Does Child Support Go Down if You Have Another Child?

Parents are legally required to provide financial support for their children. Most states determine child support, in ...

Can I Go After My Ex-Husband's New Wife's Income for More Child Support in California?

As part of a California divorce decree, the court generally issues a child support order, which is based on your living ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED