Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute Sec. 767.511(1j), the court must apply the child support guidelines when determining child support. However, the court may deviate from those guidelines and order a different amount of child support under 767.511(1m) if the court determines that applying the guidelines would be unfair to the child or one of the parties. To make this decision whether guidelines child support would be unfair, the court must consider the factors listed in Wis. Stats. Sec. 767.511(1m). These factors include, for example, the financial resources of the parents or children, the cost of child care, and the child’s educational needs.

One factor that is frequently invoked to justify a deviation from guidelines child support is found at 767.511(1m)(em): “Extraordinary travel expenses incurred in exercising the right to periods of physical placement.” If, for example, a parent lives out of state and has substantial costs related to spending time with the child, that parent can make the case that those costs should be an offset to the child support obligation.