Does Child Support Increase If Salary Increases In the context of child support, an increase in income may or may not lead to an increase in support payments. Child support is fundamentally designed to ensure that children continue to receive the financial support they would have received in an intact marriage. The court recognizes that divorce separates a couple, not the bond between a parent and child. Therefore, child support can extend beyond the marriage, accounting for certain scenarios where income increases may or may not result in higher support payments.
Scenarios in Which an Income Increase May Not Lead to Higher Support Payments:
- Insufficient Impact on Family Size: If the income increase is primarily related to the expansion of your family and does not significantly affect the financial situation, it is less likely that an increase in child support will be granted. An illustrative case is Hime v. Muir 128 Wis. 2d 293, 381 N.W.2d 607 (Ct. App. 1985), where an increase request was denied because the income change was not substantial enough to warrant higher support payments. This decision considered that the ex-husband had started a new family, and increasing support might have compromised their quality of life.
When Can a Spouse Seek Increased Child Support Payments?
The ability to seek increased child support payments hinges on the party receiving the payments and the presence of significant changes in circumstances. This principle was discussed in Long v. Wasielewski, 147 Wis.2d 57, 432 N.W.2d 615 (Ct. App. 1988). The court emphasized that support payments can only be increased if requested by the receiving party and when substantial changes are evident. Nevertheless, the court retains the discretion to reject an increase if it deems the change insufficient or if it would render support payments unjust.
Considering the Income of a Non-Liable Spouse:
In certain situations where the court is not mandating child support from your spouse, the income of your current spouse may be considered when evaluating your ability to pay. This approach adjusts the calculation of income based on the collective financial capacity of both parties. For instance, if you earn minimum wage, but your current spouse earns a substantial income, the support amount may be influenced by your combined earnings. A precedent for this concept can be found in the case of J.G.W. v. Outagamie Cnty. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. (In the Interest of A.L.W.) 153 Wis. 2d 412, 451 N.W.2d 416 (1990), where the court legally recognized the consideration of both the husband’s and the current wife’s incomes in determining support awards.
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In summary, whether an increase in income will affect child support payments depends on various factors, including the significance of the change in circumstances and the discretion of the court. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child, and it may consider multiple elements when making a determination.