|Friday, March 23, 2001 |
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DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES REVIEW OF
CHILD SUPPORT INCOME STANDARD
MADISON Ė Department of Workforce Development Secretary Jennifer Reinert announced today the formation of an advisory panel, which will review the percentage of income standard for child support orders.
All states are required by federal law to have guidelines that lead to a specific dollar amount of child support. Wisconsin uses the percentage of income standard, which establishes support as a percentage of a personís gross income based on the number of children they have. The standard is set at 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for 4 children and 34% for 5 or more children.
"The department recognizes the need to review these income standards for parents who pay child support. This is an issue where there must be a delicate balance made between what is a fair amount needed to pay for the upbringing of a child, and what is reasonable for the parent who pays the support," said Secretary Jennifer Reinert.
The percentage of income standard should not be confused with percentage expressed orders for child support. Judges currently have the discretion to express orders determined under the percentage standard as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of a personís income that must be paid in child support each month. Many factors are considered by the judges as they determine which method of expressing a monthly payment is appropriate, including income, bonuses, overtime, etc.
The department recently drafted legislation that would prevent judges from expressing orders as a percentage in the future because the percentage expressed orders are difficult to monitor and often deprive custodial parent and children of enforcement. Percentage-expressed orders are being reviewed separately to avoid confusing two equally important issues.
"As the discussion over percentage expressed orders began, some parent groups came forward asking that the underlying percentage of income standard be reviewed to ensure support orders are fair for everybody. Given the number of families impacted by the percentage standard, we believe the issue deserves a thorough review. Any changes to Wisconsinís percentage standard would benefit greatly from broad public input," added Reinert.
The advisory panel will be made up of representatives from the following organizations:
Legislation for Kids and Dads
Wisconsin Fathers for Children and Families
Wisconsin Council on Children and Families
State Bar of Wisconsin
Family Court Commissioners Association
County Child Support Agencies
Wisconsin Womenís Council
Department of Workforce Development
The first meeting of the advisory panel will be held in April and work is expected to be complete by early 2002.
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