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Alternative Approaches to Income Imputation in Setting Child Support Orders

When the court does not have any evidence of the level of the noncustodial parent’s income, or when recorded income is believed to be less than the noncustodial parent’s earnings capacity, income is typically imputed—often at full-time minimum wage. However, the Flexibility, Efficiency, and Modernization in Child Support Programs final rule of December 2016 requires that if a state’s guidelines allow for income imputation, the order must take into consideration “the specific circumstances of the noncustodial parent.” As Wisconsin prepares to review its guidelines in 2020, this report explores alternative approaches to imputing noncustodial parent income that could be considered consistent with the 2016 ruling.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Family Income, Guidelines, WI Administrative Data Core


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