University of Wisconsin–Madison
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States’ Treatment of High-Income Payers

Determining equitable order amounts for high-income payers is a complex question that states must contend with in developing child support guidelines. In general, state guidelines strive to provide children with support amounts to achieve the same standard of living they would have experienced in an intact family. However, economic studies suggest that as total household income rises, families typically dedicate more, but a lower proportion, of their income to supporting the needs of their child. In cases with high-income payers, states must balance the needs of the child and issues of equity with the perception that guidelines might provide income in excess of need for the child and custodial parent. To address this complex issue, states use a wide range of guidelines approaches. This report summarizes and reviews different approaches to high-income child support payers, followed by a comparison of Wisconsin’s current high-income guidelines to alternate approaches.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Family Income, Guidelines, Orders & Payments


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