Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities




Income Used to Set Child Support Orders

Below are some of the factors a court considers to determine how much income a payer has to pay support with:

Gross Income

Gross income is defined as all income and earnings from all sources. The income may or may not be taxable. Income can be in the form of money, property, or services.

Gross income includes:

  • wages, salaries, earnings, tips, interest, capital gains, commissions, and bonuses
  • worker's compensation or other personal injury awards intended to replace income
  • unemployment insurance
  • income continuation benefits and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments
  • contributions to retirement and cafeteria plans and undistributed income of a corporation
  • military allowances and veterans disability benefits

Gross income does not include:

  • child support
  • public assistance payments, such as W-2 cash payments or FoodShare payments

Ability to Earn

The court can consider a parent's ability to earn based on:

  • past earnings
  • current physical and mental health
  • history of child care responsibilities and periods of physical placement
  • education and training
  • local job openings

Income from Assets

Income may be based on assets, such as:

  • Life insurance
  • Cash and deposit accounts
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Business interests

For more information, please see Administrative Rule DCF 150, Appendix B