5 Common Wisconsin Child Support & Custody Questions Answered

dad and son playing video gamesQuestions about child support and child custody are some of the most common questions we hear from concerned parents.  Here are some of the most common answers to those questions; every situation is different, however, so to get your exact questions answered, contact a local lawyer that can give you answers specific to your case.

Can I stop paying child support if she won’t let me see my kid(s)?

Never stop making child support payments without consulting your lawyer, even if you are not getting a chance to visit your kids. Most courts in Wisconsin hold you accountable for child support, regardless of the amount of time you are spending with the kids. If you don’t make child support payments, you can land in legal hot water and may even be arrested.

If I make my child support payments, do I get more rights to child custody?

No.  The amount of child support and child custody is not legally connected.  Even if you and your child’s other parent have joint custody or you have sole custody, child support is still calculated and paid.

Can the amount of my child support payments be changed?

Child support can be requested and modified periodically.   Be aware that requesting an adjustment to your child support can increase or decrease the amount. In Wisconsin, there are several situations that warrant an increase or decrease in child support payments, such as:

  • If the amount of child support has not been reviewed in the last 33 months;
  • If medical costs change for the child or the parent paying child support;
  • If the earning status of the payer has changed;
  • If the child “ages out” of child support (after graduation of high school);
  • If one party moves a significant distance away from the other;
  • If the placement schedule has changed.

What are some specific circumstances where the amount of child support could be changed?

Here are some specific circumstances that would warrant a change in the amount of child support:

  • if the payer becomes disabled and experiences a change in income,
  • if the physical placement schedule (commonly called child custody, though the two are not exclusive as discussed in our recent post) changes to give a party more time with the child
  • if one party moves to another state making it difficult for them to see the child.

Remember that physical placement and the amount of child support do not always go hand in hand.  One party should NEVER withhold a child support because they are not seeing the child; this decision can have serious legal consequences.

How do I get the amount of child support changed?

To get the amount of child support changed, take these steps:

  • Make an agreement about the amount of child support with the other party in your child support and submit the necessary paperwork (more information and forms are here). The court usually approves the amount, as long as it is not significantly below the amount specified by the state.
  • Ask the child support order to be reviewed by the state (the amount could increase or decrease if you request a review). The amount of child support is calculated based on the payer’s income, number of children, and other factors. Child support can be provided in the way of funds, insurance, and other ways deemed by the authorities.
  • Ask the court to change the order (if the two parties cannot agree).

If you have any questions about child support, contact a local, experienced lawyer for information specific to your case.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

4 Helpful Tips for Dads On Fathers’ Rights & Child Support

Dad giving his young son piggy back ride as they both laugh with pleasure and enjoyment, low angle against a clear blue summer sky after child support and custodyIf you’ve watched the news recently, you’ve read the article about the man who the court ordered to pay child support even though the child isn’t biologically his. A quick Google search demonstrates how common of an occurrence this situation is, and how confusing the legal system can be when it comes to dad’s legal rights and obligation to pay child support, especially when they’re not allowed to see the child.  Indeed, we see fathers in our Watertown and Lake Mills offices on a regular basis who are not sure of their legal standing in Wisconsin—or the implications of their decisions regarding child support, custody/placement, and visitation.

Father rights and child supports may seem like a murky subject that can be muddled through, but the ramifications of a wrong step by a father in a Wisconsin court does have serious legal implications (including jail time) and can impact child custody proceedings and a man’s financial future.  Here are a few tips for any dad trying to fulfill their obligation and stay out of legal hot water when it comes to their rights as a father and child support.

Know your rights as a father.

The rights of fathers—or presumed fathers—vary from state to state, so it’s important to contact a local attorney to find out your rights regarding paternity and child support.  Many attorneys offer free consultations for your first contact, so make sure you use these tips to get the most out of your initial meeting or phone call.

Be careful when stopping child support payments.

Always consult your attorney before you stop payments, such as if you are concerned about the lack of visitation you are receiving.  Most courts hold you accountable for child support even if you are not seeing the child. Failure to make child support payments can land you in legal hot water and even lead to your arrest.

Child custody and child support do not go hand in hand.

Just as a lack of visitation and paying child support are not legally connected, neither is child support and child custody.  Even if you and child’s other parent have joint custody or you have sole custody, child support is still calculated and paid.  When going through child custody proceedings, know these key child custody terms so you can understand what you are getting—and not getting—as you go through the child custody and child support.

The amount of child support is not set in stone.

Your child support obligation is calculated, and can be reviewed and adjusted.  Requesting an adjustment to your child support can increase or decrease the amount, so be aware of this consequence. If you have any questions about child support and your rights, contact your attorney. 

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.