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.

6 Common Farm Succession & Estate Plan Mistakes

farmer working in combine in the fields ready for farm succession planAsk any farmer and they’ll tell you farming is a lifestyle.  A farm is also a business, and one that warrants a careful estate and farm succession planning for the future.  But when you’re dealing day-in and day-out with keeping your farm alive and kicking, it’s easy to make these mistakes when planning for the future.

Waiting too long.

Many a farmer has complicated the future of their business because they didn’t set an estate plan while they could.  Waiting too long—and not having a plan at all—can result in higher costs and taxes for the next generation of your farm.

The moral of this mistake is DON’T WAIT.  Start your business succession planning by discussing the future of your business with all parties that are affected by the transition—including parties that are not interested in carrying on the business.  This could include all your children and heirs, future partners’ spouses, and any other loyal long-term employees INVESTED in the company.  Once the next generation to run the farm has committed to carrying on the business (and proved their commitment), and all parties are comfortable with the future partnership, it’s time to start estate planning with an experienced attorney who can guide you (and has guided other farmers) through the process.

Not communicating.

One of the most common mistakes made when going through business succession is a lack of clear communication between all the parties involved.  Both present and future owners need to be clear about their expectations during the transition.  Communicate clearly and openly with everyone involved, even those family members who are not interested in running the farm.  If there are issues that need to explained fully (especially technical information), leave it to the estate planning professional to bring everyone together and explain the details.  This simple step can help everyone understand and communicate together, and help eliminate the chance of hard feelings and misunderstandings later.

Playing favorites.

It sounds easy not to play favorites, but dividing your farm estates is never a cut-and-dry process, especially when you have heirs that are interested in running the farm and others that are not.  Be honest and open with each other, both as a family and as business partners.  Make sure everyone is on the same page about the future of your farm, and be clear that everyone is receiving a share—just in different ways (farm assets versus non-farm assets).

Thinking you don’t need it.

Even if the assets of your farm consist primarily of animals and land, don’t think that your farm is not worth enough to need a business succession plan.  Even if you consider yourself a small farm, the value of your property is probably worth more than you think and the combined value of your land, building, and machinery warrants a legal business succession plan.

Not having all the parts of your farm succession plan in place.

Farm succession planning is about more than appointing the successor or successors of your business.  A solid business succession plan ensures 1) the transition of the farm to new parties is set and legally sound; 2) financial details are handled to ensure the succession of partners occurs smoothly; 3) that the process is easier should any partners pass away while in business.

Assuming you can do it all yourself.

To ensure that all legal and financial aspects of your farm succession and estate plan are anticipated and documented, consult an experienced attorney. Every estate plan is unique; there is no “one size fits all” plan because the organization, finances, and parties involved are different.  An attorney can customize your plan to fit where your farm is at now, and where you want it to be in the future.

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.