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Child support orders may change if the parent's income or the child's living conditions change; the amount requested can increase or decrease. The local child support department and/or the court will review an order before it is altered. Both parents will be asked to provide financial information that is up to date.  

Key Takeaways

This article discusses “How to Modify Child Support in Wisconsin” including the following questions:

  • Changing the Terms of a Child Support Order
  • Examining a Child Support Order
  • Changing a Child Support Order 
  • Information to Keep in Mind About Child Support Orders
  • Attorneys for Child Support
  • Child Support Order Charges
  • Child Support Payments
  • Putting an End to Child Support

Changing the Terms of a Child Support Order  

Child support orders may change if the parent's income or the child's living conditions change; the amount requested can increase or decrease. The local child support department and/or the court will review an order before it is altered. Both parents will be asked to provide financial information that is up to date.  

Child support will send a notice to both parents every three years to inform them of their right to a review. Court orders for parents and guardians receiving cash compensation from the W-2, SSI Caretaker Supplement, and Kinship Care services will be checked every three years by default.  

Examining a Child Support Order

When an individual receives cash payments for the children and the order has not been reviewed in three years, a check to see whether the child support order needs to be updated will be conducted.  

  • A parent requests a review after the order has been in place for three years without being revised.  
  • A court has ordered a re-examination.  
  • If a parent requests a review and the order has not been revised in the previous three years, the order may be reviewed. If there has been a significant change in circumstances, the child support agency will conduct a review more often than every three years if a written request is submitted to the agency.  
  • A major change may be when the court changes a child's placement, a parent's income changes significantly, or the paying parent is in jail or prison.  
  • A parent hires an attorney to petition the court for a rescinding of the order.  
  • Using a pro se form, a parent petitions the court for a review.    
  • A parent has no legal obligation to provide current care (all children have been emancipated or the paying parent's parental rights have been terminated).  
  • For a parent in W-2, Good Cause has been found or is pending (however, the parent with Good Cause can request a review).  
  • The order comes from another state, and that state is in charge of it.  
  • A parent's location is uncertain.  
  • The paying parent has decreased his or her profits on his or her own volition.  

Some child support agencies have their employees review the order, while others assist parents in requesting a court review via the pro se process. Three topics are examined in this review:  

1. Does the child support order's dollar sum meet the Percentage of Income guidelines?  

2. Is medical assistance included in the order? Medical assistance could be ordered for one or both parents, which may include:  

  • Enrolling the child in a health care plan supported by a parent's employer.  
  • Paying the other parent's employer's health care premiums for the child;  
  • Paying medical and dental expenses or costs.  

3. Has there been a significant shift in circumstances since your previous order?  

The results of the examination will be mailed to both parents once it is completed. 

Changing a Child Support Order

An alteration or modification to a child support order is a legal change. The amount of support can rise, fall, or remain constant. If the assistance sum remains the same, the move could result in the court order being amended to include medical support.  

If the analysis shows that:  

The disparity in child support would be less than 15% of the present order, and that would be less than $50 a month.  

If the child support agency staff determines that a change is necessary, they will draft a legal agreement and have both parents sign it. The legal agreement is filed with the court, and the amendment will take effect until the court approves it. If a parent refuses to comply with the agreement, the child support agency may petition the court to modify the order. If the court decides to amend the decision, it will consider whether or not to change it.  

If both parents agree to reduce the amount of support they get, parents should sign and file an online form (FA-604-Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgement for Support) with the Office of State Courts for approval. When the court accepts the legal arrangement, it will go into effect.  

If you obtain assistance from a local child support organization, the terms of the arrangement must be approved by the agency before you file the papers with the court. It's also crucial to let the agency know about the court's decision.  

Information to Keep in Mind With Child Support Orders

A support order can only be changed by a court.  

A court order cannot be changed by child support providers. The agency will draft an agreement for parents to sign, but the agreement must be approved by the court. Changes do not take effect until the order is signed by the judge.  

Notices are sent by mail.  

Review notifications are mailed to the parent's child support agency's address on file.  


Attorneys for Child Support  

Attorneys represent the state's interests, not the interests of either parent. In cases where a parent seeks cash payments, child support lawyers may attend appeal hearings.  

Child Support Order Charges  

For updating the court order or taking action to amend an existing order, child support services do not bill. For hearings to amend or alter a support order, most courts charge a $30 filing fee. The fees are paid by the parent who has requested the examination or adjustment. If a parent or guardian earns cash benefits through the W-2, SSI Caretaker Supplement, or Kinship Care services, there is no cost. A legal agreement can be filed without paying a filing fee in some courts.  

Child Support Payments  

The court may consider the parent's gross income, earning capacity, or available income for support.  

Gross income includes all sources of income and wages, which may or may not be taxable. Cash, property, or services may all be used as sources of income. Money earned from W-2 or SSI is not included.  

Ability to earn: takes into account the parent's work and wage background, as well as their health, schooling, and available job opportunities. Money available for support: total income less support for previous commitments, such as a support order for another family.  

Orders for families receiving services from their local child support organization must be in dollar amounts.  The percentage of income standards is used to calculate the dollar sum.  

Putting an End to Child Support  

According to Wisconsin law, a parent's obligation to help his or her child lasts until the child reaches the age of 18, or 19 whether the child is either in high school or taking a high school equivalency course (GED).  

Emancipation Notices will be sent to both parents 90 days before the youngest child's 18th birthday or the confirmed date of graduation. If a parent provides written evidence to the child support agency that the child attends high school or is enrolled in a GED program, the order for current support will expire when the youngest child turns 18 years old.  

Support cases are also enforceable if child support is past due. If the existing support order expires and past-due support is owed, the parent can consult with the agency to see if a court order for payment of the past-due support is in place. Income withholding will be maintained at the same rate until all past-due child support is received.

Request a consultation with an attorney. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

To learn about how to determine child support jurisdiction, click here.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.
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