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How To Modify a Wisconsin Child Support Order

 Posted on January 24, 2024 in Child Support

Waukesha County family lawyerChild support orders may need an adjustment if there have been significant changes to a parent’s or child’s circumstances. The non-custodial parent should speak with the custodial parent on a potential child support modification before taking any legal action. It will make the process go a lot smoother if both parents agree to the adjustments. Failure to reach an agreement will require strong reasoning for child support changes in a Wisconsin court. Consulting an attorney before filing a stipulation to change support can ensure you have a strong enough case for your modification request.

Wisconsin Child Support Modification Eligibility Requirements

Before filing a motion to modify child support in Wisconsin, a parent will need to meet certain requirements. Wisconsin has a 33-month waiting period in place for essential modifications to a child support order. However, this waiting period can be waived if there has been a substantial change in circumstances for the child, non-custodial parent, or custodial parent.

Substantial changes in circumstances may include:

  • An increase or decrease in the non-custodial parent’s or custodial parent’s income
  • Changes in the non-custodial parent’s or custodial parent’s health
  • Medical or health requirements have increased or decreased for a child
  • Either parent is incarcerated

A substantial change in circumstance regarding income must be legitimate. Non-custodial parents cannot purposefully quit their jobs in hopes of lowering child support payments. A non-custodial parent who currently owes back child support cannot seek to modify child support obligations. A custodial parent withholding visitation from the non-custodial parent cannot see child support changed. However, the non-custodial parent can have the court reinforce the established custody agreement or seek to modify child custody in these situations.

How Child Support Payments Are Calculated

Placement is the primary determining factor in Wisconsin child support payment obligations, with a judge’s discretion to deviate up or down as they see fit. An obligor, with less than 25 percent placement with their child or children, will have their support obligation based on a flat percentage of their gross income according to the total number of children they have.

An obligor with more than 25 percent placement with their child or children will have their support obligation based on the state’s formulaic calculation, which can involve the following factors:

  • The age of a child
  • How many children are involved in the hearing
  • The physical, medical, or academic needs of a child
  • Income and potential to earn for both parents
  • Each parent’s history with their children

Filing a Motion to Modify Child Support

Parents who agree to the new terms can file a Stipulation and Order to Amend Judgment form to their local County Clerk of Court’s office or online to see the changes enacted. When an agreement is not met, one parent can choose to file a motion to modify using a formal request to the court. They can also hire an attorney to file the motion on their behalf.

Contact a Waukesha County, WI Family Law Attorney

Modifying a child support order does not have to be complicated. An experienced Brookfield, WI child support modifications lawyer can help determine if your situation warrants a modification and guide what steps to take next. Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP can provide the necessary direction and assistance to your legal woes. Contact the office at 262-232-6699 for a free consultation.

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