Child support modification in Wisconsin
Changing a child support order, also known as a child support modification, can only be changed by a court. A common misconception is that your payments will remain the same until child support stops. The truth is, child support is always modifiable. A number of factors can raise or lower child support payments, including a change in income for either parent, loss of job by the paying parent, or the needs of the child(ren) evolve in special cases. If you do nothing, your monthly child support payments could increase every year. Estimate your monthly child support payments with our easy to use child support calculator.
Contact child support lawyers in Milwaukee at Divergent Law to mitigate an ever-increasing child support payment.
When Can I Modify Child Support Payments In WI?
There are several options to modify an order for child support in Wisconsin:
- If both parents agree to a change in the monthly payment amount, you can file a Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgement Form with the local County Clerk of Court’s office.
- If both parents do not agree to a new monthly payment amount, you may file a motion to modify the child support order "pro se" with the local County Clerk of Court’s office. A court date will be required.
- Hire an attorney to file an action on your behalf.
- Request a review of the child support case from your local child support agency.
Requesting a Review from Your Local WI Child Support Agency
If the option to request a review from your local child support agency is chosen, the agency has up to 180 days to complete the review. The agency may deny the request, attempt to mediate an agreement between both parents, or set a court date for review by a judge.
The child support order review will examine 3 issues:
- Whether the child support amount in the order follows the Percentage of Income Guidelines.
- Whether the child support order includes medical support.
- Whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances involving the child since the last order.
The child support agency will use these guidelines to decide how to proceed on a child support review in Wisconsin:
A Review of the Child Support Order WILL Be Done
- A court orders the review.
- A parent asks for the review and the order has not been reviewed for 3 years.
- A parent gets cash assistance benefits for the children and the order has not been reviewed for 3 years.
A Review of the Child Support Order MIGHT Be Done
- A parent hires an attorney to ask the court for an order review.
- A parent asks the court for an order review by filing their own motion.
- The noncustodial parent is incarcerated.
- The last review was less than 3 years ago but there has been a significant change in circumstances.
Examples of a significant change in circumstance:
- The paying parent’s salary is increased or decreased and would lead to a monthly change in child support of more than $50.
- The child’s placement is changed by the court and the child is now placed with the paying parent.
- The paying parent is no longer required to pay support for an older child on a case with multiple children, and a lower monthly payment is requested as a result.
- The receiving parent is now receiving public assistance benefits and the order is old or no support was ordered.
A Review of the Child Support Order WILL NOT Be Done
- The paying parent has intentionally taken a decrease in their income.
- A parent’s whereabouts are unknown.
- The order is not from Wisconsin, and that other state manages the support order.
- Good Cause has been determined or is pending for a parent enrolled in the W-2 program.
- A parent has no legal obligation to provide child support (E.g. all children are legal adults or parental rights were terminated for one of the parents).
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support Modification in Wisconsin
When can I ask for my child support order to be changed?
You have the right to have your court order reviewed by the child support agency every 33 months or if there is a significant change in circumstances which will result in a payment change of 15% of the current order and the difference will be at least $50. The party requesting the change must provide evidence of the significant change in circumstance if the request is outside of the 33-month review process. Incarceration is considered to be a significant change in circumstances.
Can the child support agency change my support order?
No, only a court can change a child support order. The child support agency may mediate and write up and agreement for both parents to sign, but the court has to approve the agreement. No changes take into effect until the court signs the order.
What will the court use to determine my income for child support?
The court may use the parent's gross income, income available for support, or ability to earn to determine income for child support:
- Gross income - Income and earnings before taxes and other deductions from all sources. It does not include money received from W-2 or SSI programs.
- Income Available for Support - Gross income minus support for prior obligations such as an order to support a different family.
- Ability to Earn - The parent's job, wage history, health, education, and available job openings are all taken into consideration.