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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 send that to the Child Support Department (CSD).(rev2012)
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 CSD review your case to see if it warrants an adjustment. The CSD has strict procedure that they must follow in order to review a court order. If the CSD 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, consult with Legal Action of Wisconsin, 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 CSD 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 CSD. 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 State of Wisconsin has a set amount for each county. In Racine the cost for birth expenses total approximately $4000.00. The father is usually ordered to pay back half of the cost. 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 CSD 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 Family 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 your Family Court Commissioners Office. It is important to remember that the Wisconsin Child Support program and its representatives have NO authority to create, change, or enforce custody and placement provisions. Even though we can sympathize with your situation we cannot get involved with it. You MUST contact the Family Court Commissioners Office with these issues.
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 CSD review your order for a possible modification. If you voluntarily quit your job or were terminated, the CSD will not pursue a modification.
Q:If I'm in prison, why do I still have to pay child support?
A:Every child has the right to be supported by both parents, and every parent has an obligation to support their child, regardless of whether a parent is incarcerated. The only time the courts will even consider that a support obligation be terminated is when a non-custodial parent is incarcerated is if that parent was sentenced to be incarcerated for life, with no chance of parole.
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 check for Payment Information Online.
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 CSD immediately to schedule an appointment with the paralegal to negotiate that this commitment be vacated.
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 from the child support department. 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 child support department to discuss the possible reasons for the discrepancy. You must provide evidence for your belief that the amount is in error. The child support department will review your case to determine if there is an error. If you do not agree with the child support departments’ decision, you may request a court review. In the CSD we have a special team working on lien docket that you may ask to speak with.
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. The KIDS system is down on the 1st of each month for this processing so this will cause a one-day delay for payments.
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 CSD 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. The Bureau of Child Support is required to intercept state tax.
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 CSD 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 with the child support attorney 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 CSD know?
A:The custodial parent will often learn information about the non-custodial parent before the CSD finds out. The locate tools used by the CSD 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 CSD 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. Click here for the Change of Address or Employment Form.
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 CSD will then stop current child support and send a notice to terminate income withholding to your employer.
Q:The non-custodial parent is required to provide medical insurance. I’m receiving my child support but no medical coverage for my child. The non-custodial parent is supposed to pay half of all uninsured medical bills too and isn’t. What can be done?
A:At the Racine CSD, if a non-custodial parent is paying child support, the case will not be referred to court for enforcement of medical coverage. We may send a non-custodial parent letters regarding the issue but we must concentrate on enforcing the child support first. You may file a motion on your own or hire a private attorney to enforce that issue in Family Court. You can also file a motion in Small Claims court for any medical bills you have paid on your own.
Q:I can't afford medical insurance coverage for my kids. Do I have to provide it anyway?
A:If you were ordered by the court to provide medical coverage, you must provide coverage. If you do not, you may be found in contempt of court.
Q:I am the alleged father and I want blood 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:The test costs $66.00 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 CSD help me?
A:The issues of the county 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:When I called the CSD I was told that I’m not a custodial parent of their cases. How can I not be if I have a court order in Racine County Family Court and I’m receiving child support through them?
A:Your case is a Non-IV-D case. You either had a private attorney, used the services of a legal advocacy group or represented yourself to obtain a court order. You also never received public assistance for the child(ren) of this case. The CSD monitors your payment record but does not enforce your order unless requested. You would need to fill out an application.(rev2012)