- Ingrid Rothe, Jennifer Noyes, Lynn Wimer, and Anat Yom-Tov
- July 2007
- Link to 2005-07-Task3A (PDF)
Using the Wisconsin Court Record Data (CRD), this report focuses on the implications for sole-custody cases of a January 2004 amendment to the guidelines that changed the treatment of low- and high-income payers relative to other payers, and eliminated the previous requirement for uniform treatment of payers regardless of income. In particular, the authors examine the extent to which the courts have adopted the use of the new guideline in determining the amount of new orders in sole-custody cases for three groups: those with low incomes who would be subject to the change, those with high incomes who would be subject to the change, and those with mid-range incomes who should be unaffected by the change.
They find that overall compliance with the guideline was considerably lower for orders established after the 2004 change. In addition, compared to earlier years, new non-guideline-compliant orders were somewhat more likely to have been set above the guideline. Although the authors cannot determine with any certainty the underlying cause of these trends, they describe a number of alternative analyses completed in order to explain them. More information on this topic is included in the follow-up report, “How Did the 2004 Change in Wisconsin’s Guidelines Affect Child Support Payments?”