How is Child Support Enforced in Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) administers child support obligations in the Badger State. Although the DCF is very responsive to parental needs, it's often much faster to file an independent motion to enforce a child support order and collect back payments through family court, largely because this motion can allow you to take action on other matters, such as outstanding spousal support.

Support Enforcement Options in Wisconsin

Almost all divorce orders instruct the obligor (the person making support payments) to pay child support exclusively through the Department of Children and Families. Therefore, most Wisconsin judges only consider the DCF's payment record when reviewing delinquent accounts. If there is a shortfall, there are a number of enforcement tools available, including:

  • Income Withholding: Almost any delinquency triggers employer income withholding. Wisconsin has very strong income withholding laws, so employers may direct up to 65 percent[1] of an obligor's check to the obligee. If the obligor is self-employed, courts often require a large bond.
  • Interest: Wisconsin also has one of the highest interest rates (12 percent) in the country. This collection method is highly controversial and so not used as commonly as some others.
  • Payment Intercept: The state may redirect insurance payouts, tax refunds, inheritance receipts, and other payments destined for the obligor to the obligee.
  • Direct Punishment: There is a “deadbeat dad” list in Menomonee Falls, Brookfield, and other cities. In addition to suffering embarrassment, many people on this list have a hard time getting jobs or loans. Moreover, the state of Wisconsin suspends driver's licenses of some delinquent obligors.

All these remedies are available to both a government prosecutor assigned to the case and a private collection attorney. The big difference is that a prosecutor's client is the state and an attorney's client is the obligee. So, the government lawyer does what's best for the government, and an attorney does what's best for your family.

For Immediate help with your family law case or answering any questions please call (262) 221-8123 now!

References: [1]Income Withholding