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Child Support FAQ's

Q:How do I apply for services?
A:You must complete an application for services. After completing the application for services, you will need to bring it in or send it to the Racine County Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). There is no fee to apply for services.
Q:How do I change my child support order?
A:In order to change an existing order, a new court order must be entered. There are a few ways of doing this.
1) You can request that the OCSE review your case to see if it warrants an adjustment. The OCSE has strict procedure that they must follow in order to review a court order. If the OCSE has reviewed your case, and they determine that it does not warrant an adjustment, no modification proceedings will commence.
2) You can file your own motion with the court to modify your court order.
3) You can file a
stipulation and order to modify the current child support order.
Q:How do I file my own motion with the court?
A:You can hire an attorney or file your motion with the court.
Q:My child is in foster care and the child support money I was receiving from my ex-husband is now going to the State of Wisconsin. I’ve received an appointment letter stating I must go to the OCSE to establish an order for me to pay. Why must I pay if you are already getting my ex-husbands child support?
A:All parents have a duty and obligation to support their child(ren) no matter where the child(ren) resides. The law requires that both parents are individually liable for supporting a child placed in substitute care.
Q:Does an adjustment or modification always increase the current child support order?
A:No. The adjustment could raise or lower the current support order.
Q:My husband and I are separated but we are not sure if we want to get divorced. I had to go to Human Services to apply for a medical card because my husbands’ employer does not offer medical insurance. My husband gives me money every week and I don’t want child support involved. Why must I appear for an appointment?
A:Because you are receiving medical assistance from the State of Wisconsin you must cooperate with the OCSE. Even though you do not want us to establish an order for child support, Wisconsin law and the Court insists that as long as the non-custodial parent does not reside with you then we must enter an order. Failure to cooperate will result with any benefits you are receiving from the State of Wisconsin being stopped.
Q:The mother of my child had a medical card (Medical Assistance benefits from the State of Wisconsin). Will I have to pay that back? And how much will that cost?
A:The father may be ordered to pay back part of the birth costs paid by the state. In recent years, the amount ordered has usually been $1650 to $1700 in most cases. These costs are added to the order along with a payment per week plan. If the fathers’ income is below 185% of the federal poverty level then he cannot be required to make regular payments. However, tax intercept program may be used to recover these costs.
Q:My girlfriend/ex-wife is no longer receiving public assistance. Why is the OCSE still enforcing the order?
A:If there is an order in effect, it does not matter if the custodial parent is receiving public assistance or not; the child support order does not stop. If there is no balance owing to AFDC or W2 or birth expenses then there is a form that the custodial parent can fill out to stop our services. However, this still doesn’t stop the order for current child support. All this form does is keep us from enforcing the case.
Q:My order allows me time with my kids but the custodial parent is not letting me see them. Can I stop paying support?
A:No. Wisconsin law draws a very definite line between the issues of physical placement and child support. No parent can withhold court ordered support because they are denied court order periods of visitation. Likewise, no parent can deny court ordered visitations because the other parent is withholding court ordered support payments. If you are being denied visitation rights, contact the Family Court. It is important to remember that the OCSE has NO authority to create, change, or enforce custody and placement provisions.
Q:The kids are living with me now. Why am I still paying support to the mother?
A:You will have to continue to pay support until you produce an order from the court stating that placement has changed and your obligation to support the children has been terminated. You should file a motion with the court to modify the order.
Q:The custodial parent doesn’t spend the support money on our kids. What can be done?
A:The money the custodial parent spends on housing, utilities and food is spending that is shared with the children. If you believe your children are not being adequately fed, clothed and housed then you may contact the county social services agency where your child lives. Neither the state nor the federal government has jurisdiction over how the custodial parent spends child support payments.
Q:I'm not working now. Why do I still have to pay the same amount of child support?
A:Your child support order is based on the DWD 40, the Percentage of Income Standard, and is based off of your gross income. If you believe your current support order no longer reflects the appropriate amount based on the Percentage of Income Standards, you can request that the OCSE review your order for a possible modification.
Q:How do I know if a payment was received? Has the NCP made a child support payment yet?
A:Participants inquiring about payments received by WISCTF and subsequently disbursed by WISCTF are to be referred to call the IVR line (1-800-991-5530). You may also sign up for child support on-line services at the Wisconsin Child Support Program website.
Q:Why do I still have a commitment against me when I'm now making payments?
A:If you have a commitment against you, and you start making payments, the commitment will not be vacated automatically. This is a matter that will need to be ordered by the court. If you are in this situation, you should contact the OCSE immediately.
Q:My son is 22 years old and you are still taking child support. How can this be?
A:There are arrears owed. You should contact your caseworker for more information. The KIDS system automatically holds onto any monies that come in that has nowhere to go, this causes a caseworker to take a look at why we have money coming in and nowhere to send it. We don’t just hold onto money, if no obligation exists then it gets refunded back to the payer.
Q:What if I don’t think I owe back child support?
A:You have the right to request payment records OCSE. After receiving the records you may compare them with your own records to determine if the past-due support amount is accurate. If you feel there is an error, contact the OCSE to discuss the possible reasons for the discrepancy. You must provide evidence for your belief that the amount is in error. The OCSE will review your case to determine if there is an error. If you do not agree with the OCSEs’ decision, you may request a court review.
Q:How do I find out if my name is on the lien docket?
A:If your name is placed on the lien docket you will be sent a document called Notice of Lien Docket and Credit Bureau Reporting. The notice will tell you the amount of the lien on the date that it was placed on the docket. This notice also describes your rights and procedures for disputing the lien amount.
Q:How long will the WSCTF take to process my payments?
A:The WSCTF will process the support payments the same day they are received Monday through Friday. KIDS will issue payment to be mailed on the next working day. Due to the vast amount of data that must be processed at the end of the month the KIDS system requires at least 24 hours of processing time at months’ end.
Q:Will I notice a difference in the amount of support sent to my family?
A:If a payer has more than one family to support or more than one support-related obligation, the payments will be pro-rated across the payers’ cases. Payments are distributed first to families with minor children for current support and additional amounts are distributed to child support arrears or other support-related debts. Therefore payees may notice a difference in the amount they receive and the timing of these payments.
Q:The non-custodial parent of my children does not want a Notice of Income Withholding to go to his/her employer. He/she prefers to pay me directly. Is this all right?
A:Income withholding is mandatory in Wisconsin because it is convenient to both parents and greatly reduces the possibility of late payments or arrearages. Generally, only self-employed paying parents do not participate in immediate income withholding, they may be required to arrange for periodic payments of support from a bank account.
Q:I got notice that my taxes were intercepted; however, my billing statement doesn’t reflect it. Where did my money go?
A:The non-custodial parent receives notice from the IRS or DOR that his/her tax refund has been intercepted. The state child support system usually receives the tax intercept monies four to six weeks after the non-custodial parent receives this notice.
Q:Besides paying my current support I am making payment on the child support arrears and birth expenses. You are still charging me interest on the back support and I just received notice that my taxes are going to be intercepted. Can you do this? What can I do?
A:Wisconsin law requires the OCSE to charge simple interest of 1% per month on the unpaid amount even if you are making payments on the arrears. Under federal law, the Bureau of Child Support is required to intercept federal tax refunds in any case when the custodial parent received public assistance and the arrears total $150.00 or more or non-public assistance cases when arrears total $500.00 or more.
Q:I owe back child support and I know my taxes will be intercepted. I am remarried and am concerned you will intercept my new wife’s tax return. Will this happen?
A:Yes. If you file a joint return, you should file an injured spouse claim. The IRS will pro-rate the refund. It may be easier for you both to file separately. Contact your tax preparer for filing advice.
Q:I am not getting any child support. I want the non-custodial parent in jail but the OCSE just sends him/her a letter. I want him/her arrested. What can I do?
A:There are many steps to enforcement. We first send a warning letter out. If there’s no response from the payer we either refer the case for a pre-trial or refer the case to court. Before any payer can be arrested he/she must first be either found in contempt of court or unable to be located to be served. We cannot just arrest someone without going through the due process.
Q:The non-custodial parent recently moved. I had to tell my caseworker about it. How come I had to tell the caseworker? Shouldn’t the OCSE know?
A:The custodial parent will often learn information about the non-custodial parent before the OCSE finds out. The locate tools used by the OCSE sometimes takes awhile to report new information. The custodial parent usually finds out from the non-custodial parent himself or from mutual friends/family. Non-custodial parents are court ordered to report changes in employers and addresses within 10 days, however, if all non-custodial parents followed their court orders the OCSE would not need to be involved in the first place. The custodial parent needs to report information to us to be sure the information is received and processed.
Q:My daughter turned 18 in February but doesn’t graduate until June. When will my child support obligation stop?
A:Check your child support order to see when the end date is. Most of them are 18 years old unless pursuing a high school diploma but not later than 19 years old. At that time you must provide us with a copy of the high school diploma or a letter from the high school indicating the date of graduation. The OCSE will then stop current child support and send a notice to terminate income withholding to your employer.
Q:I am the alleged father and I want genetic tests to be sure this is my child. How much will this cost me and do I need to bring the money with me at the time of testing?
A:You will be charged $35.00 ONLY if you are found to be the father. There’s no need to bring any money with you when you appear for DNA testing. The costs are added to your order along with a payment per week plan.
Q:I believe the custodial parent is neglecting my kids and may be abusing them. Why won’t OCSE help me?
A:The issues of the protective services are separate from the issue of child support. If you believe your children are abused or neglected then contact the county social services agency where your children live.
Q:The non-custodial parent is (re)married. The new spouse makes a lot of money. Can the amount I receive for child support be based on the spouses’ income also?
A:No. The responsibility for supporting a child rests with the parents of the child. Under Wisconsin law a stepparent has no legal responsibility to support the children of his/her new spouse.
Q:I have a court order for child support in Racine County, but when I called the child support agency, they told me I do not have a case with them. Why not?
A:Your case is a Non-IV-D case. You either had a private attorney or represented yourself to obtain a court order. You also never received public assistance for the child(ren) of this case. The Trust Funt receipts and dispurses payments, but the OCSE will not enforce your order unless you apply for services. There is no fee to apply for service.