Child Support Services

FAQ's About Child Support

Download the "FAQ's About Child Support" brochure. (All that is included in the brochure can be found below.)

I have just been contacted by the child support agency and I don’t understand why. We don’t want the agency involved with our matters. What do I do?
The child support agency receives their cases one of two ways. The first way is when a party comes into the agency and fills out an "Application for Services". The second is when we receive a referral from the Department of Health & Human Services because one of the parents has applied for assistance from the State, such as Medical Assistance, Food Stamps, Child Care Assistance, etc. If you have done either of the two above scenarios, you will be contacted by the agency.

What happens if I don’t cooperate with the child support agency?
If you are receiving assistance from the State and you do not cooperate with the agency, a notice of non-cooperation will be sent from our office to your economic support worker. This tells the economic support worker that you are not cooperating with us and your benefits may be terminated until such time as you cooperate. If you applied for our services and you are not cooperating, we close your case.

My child is 18. Why am I still paying? Doesn't my obligation end at 18?
By Wisconsin law, your obligation continues until the child is 18 or 19 if the child is pursuing a high school education or its equivalent. For example, your child is 18, it's December, but your child does not graduate until the following May. You are obligated to pay through the month of May.

I am pregnant and my boyfriend lives with me. Will he still have to pay child support?
If the two of you are residing in the same home, he will not have to pay child support at that time. We will begin an action to establish paternity (legal fatherhood) and he will have to reimburse the State of Wisconsin for birthing costs, IF the birth of your child was paid for by Medical Assistance.

My child was living with their other parent and has now come to live with me. How do I get my child support to stop and is the other party now obligated to pay me?
Your court-ordered child support does not stop until there is another court order stating such. Most people assume when a child has moved, the support automatically stops and that is not the case. The only way child support can be stopped is by way of a court order. This order can be the result of an agreement reached by all parties (stipulation) or by holding a hearing in front of the judge. Both parents are held to the same child support guidelines. If the child is residing with you and you request child support from the other party, the agency will gather income information from the other party and proceed accordingly.

What is child support based on?
In Wisconsin, child support is based on gross income. Once gross income is determined, the following information is applied:

  • 17%=one child
  • 25%=two children
  • 29%=three children
  • 31%=four children
  • 34%=five or more children
  • Other calculations may be used for low income payers, shared placement parents, split placement parents and high income payers.

My first child was born in 1993 and I pay child support for that child. I am now in another relationship and have another child. Can I get a reduction on my first support obligation because I am supporting a second child?
No. Your first child is your first obligation. There is statutory authority in which a judge can deviate from a standard order but the fact that you have a second family is not one of those reasons.

I have three children and pay support. One of the children graduates from high school this spring. Will my child support be automatically adjusted to reflect this change?
No. Your court-ordered child support will continue at the same rate until a modification is done and a subsequent order is entered. If you want the agency to pursue this modification, you will need to contact us either by telephone or in writing and let us know the circumstances. If this is not done, your child support will continue to run at the rate it has been for three children. Many, many people make the mistake of just “assuming” that their child support will decrease automatically upon emancipation of a child. A formal request must be made for modification. Please keep in mind this request can be made through the agency, through private counsel (an attorney) or you may file a court action on you own (Pro se').

I am to receive $200.00 per month in child support. The money is coming right from my ex's check but I am only getting about $92.00 every two weeks. That does not total $200.00 per month. Where is the rest of my money?
If the order is stated monthly as above ($200.00), the monthly amount is multiplied by 12 (months of the year) to receive an annual total ($200.00 x 12 = $2400). The annual amount is then divided by the number of times the payer is paid for the year. In the above scenario, the payer is paid bi-weekly so the annual figure is divided by 26 pay-periods. When that is done, the bi-weekly amount is $92.31. If the payer is paid weekly, the annual figure would be divided by 52. This formula accounts for the months of the year when the payer has an extra pay period.

I pay child support but I don’t think the other parent is using the money for my child. What can be done?
The money the other parent spends may contribute to your child’s housing, utilities and food. If you have reason to believe that your child is not getting the basic necessities, you may contact the Department of Health & Human Services. Neither the state nor federal government has jurisdiction over how the other parent spends the child support payments.

My ex is ordered to pay half of uninsured health related expenses but has not done so. What should I do?
First, the other parent has to be aware of the amount of the bill(s) and what his/her half is. Each agency may handle this matter differently. In Washburn County, we require that you submit the amount owed along with copies of the bills to the other parent via return-receipt mail. If payment is still not made, you may contact our agency for further details as to our procedure for collection assistance.

The other parent will not let me see my child. Why should I pay my support? Am I still obligated to pay? What if I refuse to pay until I see my child?
Although it seems that payment of child support and visitation should go hand in hand, they do not. You need to pay your court-ordered child support until you have a subsequent order indicating that you no longer need to pay. If you stop paying your support, you may be held in contempt of court. This could result in jail, suspension of your driver's and/or recreational licenses or even a criminal referral to the District Attorney.

If there is a court order that sets forth a schedule in which you are entitled to see your child and that schedule is being violated, you may wish to seek sanctions against the other parent, either on your own (Pro se) or by hiring private counsel.

If a visitation schedule has not been set by the court, you may wish to file a motion with the court requesting a schedule be put into place. Again, this can be done Pro se’ or through private counsel.

Please contact the Washburn County Child Support Agency if you have questions. We would be happy to help you.

Pro se' packets are available in the Washburn County Clerk of Courts Office.

Washburn County Government, Wisconsin