Modify Wisconsin Child Support Orders

Understand what courts consider before trying to modify child support in Wisconsin

It's not uncommon for circumstances to change that may require the child support order to be adjusted. If you feel like your child support order needs to be adjusted, the first thing you should try doing is talking with the other parent of your child.

When can Child Support be Changed in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has a 33-month waiting period from the date of the last support calculation. For example, if you and a spouse agreed to support on April 1, 2017, you can't file to modify support until January 1, 2020

Are there exceptions to the 33-month wait period?

Yes. A parent can also request that the order be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances. The process is easier if both parents agree on the changes.

If an agreement cannot be reached, you'll need to go to court and seek modifying of your original child support agreement. It is not worth asking the court to modify it if you can't make a strong case for a significant change in circumstances Including:

  • The noncustodial parent's pay increases
  • The noncustodial parent's health changes – usually from normal to bad
  • The custodial parent's income changes
  • The health of the custodial parent changes
  • The health/medical needs of the child changes
  • The needs of the child changes
  • The custody arrangement changes
  • A parent is placed in jail

Are there some situations that won't justify a change to the support order?

Yes. A noncustodial parent can't voluntarily quit their job or force the employer to fire them. The change in pay level must be legitimate

Before you spend the time and resources to attempt to modify child support, understand the following common examples that are unlikely to lead to a change:

  • Failure to allow visitation to the non-custodial parent. If you are not receiving visitation rights that were agreed upon in the original custody hearing, courts can reinforce the custody agreement. But the court will not change the support order.
  • Change of circumstances for the custodial parent. Just because financial circumstances have changed either positively or negatively, it is unlikely the court will determine an increase or decrease in support is appropriate.
  • An arrearage in child support payments.
  • The custodial parent legally moving the child without violating the custody agreements, the court will not consider this as a factor to change child support.

How is the change to the support order made?

  • The parents can agree to the change amount. They can then file the necessary papers or online forms to make the change.
  • The parent who wants the change can formally request that a change be considered by the appropriate court

The change is effective only:

  • When both parties agree, the forms are completed, and a new order is signed
  • When there is a new court order after a court review
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