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How Often Can Child Support Be Modified in Wisconsin?

When parents divorce they usually share parenting responsibilities. Oftentimes, children reside primarily with one parent and have regular visitation with the other. The non-custodial parent typically pays child support. Child support is usually part of a court order. The parent must make the required payments or face legal action. As time goes by, support payments may need to be changed. A change in child support is also called a modification. A knowledgeable family law attorney will help with child support modifications.

Child Support Modification

A modification of child support may be warranted when the parent’s income changes or when the child’s needs change. In order to request a child support modification in Wisconsin there must be a significant change in circumstances to warrant it. Either parent may request a modification hearing through the court. The judge will review information from both parents and make a decision that is in the best interests of the child. Once a child support order is in place, it may only be modified through a court order.

Reasons for a Child Support Modification

There are several reasons why a parent may need to request a modification to child support. One reason to change a child support order is when the child’s living arrangements change. The primary custodial parent might change and child support would no longer apply. When a parent’s income increases significantly, the amount of child support they pay might need to increase accordingly. If a parent loses their job or has a drop in income, they may be unable to pay the ordered amount.

Reviewing a Child Support Order

Wisconsin statutes allow for a motion for modification of child support if it has been more than 33 months since the date of the last order. Parents have the right to request a child support review every three years. The child support agency will send a notice to both parents as a reminder that the three-year review is possible. Either parent may request a review of child support as long as it has not been reviewed in the last three years. A review of the child support order does not guarantee a modification. There must be adequate documentation to support a modification.

Substantial Change in Circumstances

A review may be done more often than every three years when there has been a substantial change in circumstances and when a parent makes a request. A substantial change is something that significantly impacts the life of a child or parent. An income change that would change the child support order by $50 or more is usually considered significant. Other substantial changes are when the court changes a child’s placement or when a paying parent is in jail.

Even if you are granted a review of child support, it will not automatically lead to a modification. The court must find that there is a need for a modification. Both parents are able to present their case to the judge who will make a decision based on facts and what is best for the child. To learn more about child support modifications, contact us at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online for a consultation.

Published July 5, 2024
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