Modify Wisconsin Child Support Orders

To modify child support in Wisconsin you must establish a substantial change of circumstances. Wisconsin family courts consider a significant change any of the following:

  • Change in your Income
  • Change in the Recipient's Income
  • Needs of the Child Changed


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, 2019, you can't file to modify support until January 1, 2022

Are there exceptions to the 33-month wait period?

Yes. A parent can also request that the order is modified if there has been 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 to modify 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

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

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

Can the Court Take Away Already Awarded Support?

The best course of action would be to talk to a family attorney and prepare an appeal.

Although a property division is not subject to the court's continuing jurisdiction and may not be modified based on a change of circumstances, sec 806.07 gives the court discretionary authority in grant relief from the judgment. In the case Thorpe v. Thorpe 123 Wis.2d 424, 367 N.W.2d 233 (Ct. App. 1985), a husband attempted to appeal the judge's award of part of his pension proceeds to his wife. The judge knew of the ability to relieve someone of their judgment, but needs more than a change of circumstances.

Are you ready to move forward? Call (262) 221-8123 to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I request a child support modification in Wisconsin?

To request a child support modification, you need to file the correct paperwork with your county’s clerk of courts. The paperwork such as the Stipulation to Change: Support can be found on the Wisconsin courts website.

What is the average child support payment for one child in Wisconsin?

For sole custody, the paying party pays 17% for a single child. But, in joint custody, the amount varies greatly. Calculate the child support for your case using our child support calculator.

How often can child support be modified in Wisconsin?

Child support orders are reviewed every three years. But, if there is a substantial change in circumstances, it can be changed sooner. A substantial change could be gaining a new, higher-paying job or taking a pay cut.

What is considered a substantial change in circumstances in Wisconsin?

A substantial change is one that significantly impacts the life of a parent or child. It could be that a new medical issue arises or that a parent has a significant change of income in losing or gaining a job.

How can I lower my child support?

Support can be lowered if one or both party’s financial situation has changed. If the party that gets paid child support is now making more money, the amount of child support paid could decrease. Or, if the person paying child support is making less money, child support could decrease.

How can I increase my child support?

Similarly, an increase can happen when there is a change in the partys’ financial situations. For example, if the paying child support makes more money now, the amount of child support they pay could increase.

How do I modify a custody agreement in Wisconsin?

Modifying child custody is similar to child support in that a motion must be filed with the courts. Learn more in our article on modifying child custody.

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