When Does Child Support End in Wisconsin?

Typically, child support ends when the child turns 18 (or 19 if the child is still in high school or taking an accredited GED course). However, there are several circumstances in the state where child support might be extended or end early.

Support Timeline Under Normal Circumstances

Child support is money paid by the non-custodial parent to the parent with custody to ensure your children have the same standard of living as before the divorce. In Wisconsin, this is done by a percentage-standard method, so basically as the non-custodial parent you pay a percentage of your income based on the number of minor children in the marriage.

Support payments continue until the child is 18 or graduates from high school. Although rare, there are cases where support could continue after the child turns 18 or end early (detailed below.)

When Does Child Support Continue Through College?

In Wisconsin, unless your children's college education is specifically included in the divorce settlement, there is not an obligation to include it in child support. Make sure if any promises or agreements were made before the divorce to get them included in the settlement. An oral agreement or written handshake isn't enough!

If it is not stated in your divorce judgment that the non-custodial parent has to help with college expenses then child support will automatically stop when the child turns 18 or graduates high school. Generally, this isn't something that can change after the divorce settlement. If this is something you feel should be included in your divorce settlement, make sure to consult your attorney.

In What Other Cases Might Child Support End Early?

In the vast majority of cases, child support continues until age 18 or graduation from high school. However, there are a few instances where child support will end early such as:

  • If a child joins the military
  • If a child gets married
  • If a child gets emancipated

In these cases, child support payments would end immediately. If you can prove that one of these has taken place, child support would not only end but be affected retroactively as well.

My Child Support Payment Is Too High – What Do I Do?

Though you can't end a child support payment early, there are ways to reduce it. If you can prove a significant change in circumstance (losing a job, for instance) you can request a hearing to have the support payments recalculated.

If you feel that this is something you need, contact a family lawyer and collect as much documentation as you can.


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