Child Support Agency
WELCOME TO THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY
Many common questions and answers regarding Child Support can be found in the information sections below. At the side of this page, there are LINKS to often used sites related to Child Support. Additionally, you will find links to forms and other informational sites.
The Child Support Agency's primary objective is to ensure parents provide financial and medical support for their children by establishing paternity and enforcing child support orders. Families that receive financial and medical support have a greater chance of being self sufficient. With our primary objective in mind, the Child Support Agency strives to provide accurate and timely information and guidance in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect for each other and the public.
PLEASE NOTE: Our caseworkers do not take calls on Wednesdays. Each case is assigned a caseworker. If you have questions, call the Child Support Agency and ask for your caseworker. (NOTE: There are certain cases in the Child Support Agency that do not have an assigned caseworker- for those cases, we may ask you to submit your questions in writing.)
We are located in Room 3105 of the JUSTICE CENTER in the Washington County Court House. Our address is:
432 East Washington Street, Suite 3105
P.O. Box 1986
West Bend, WI 53095-7986
Many answers to your Child Support questions can be found by clicking on the categories listed on this web page. Some of the more commonly asked questions are below:
My ex was court-ordered to pay child support. Where is my money?
Payment of child support is made to the Wisconsin Support Collection Trust Fund (WI-SCTF), unless your order states otherwise. You can access your information ANYTIME with an on-line account. The account displays payments and account balances. This account also allows payer's to print payment coupons. Ask the Child Support Agency for more information on setting up an on-line account. Check the FINANCIAL section for more information.
What does ESTABLISHING PATERNITY mean?
Paternity means the establishment of a legalfather for a child born to unmarried parents. It is in the best interest of the child to have paternity established, as this creates the legal relationship between a child and the father. Paternity establishment gives the child inheritance rights and access to future benefits through the father (such as social security and veteran's benefits). Check the PATERNITY section for more information.
If a child is born outside of marriage, there is no legal father until paternity is established. To establish paternity, a State of Wisconsin Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form can be completed and filed, or paternity can be establishedthrough a court action. The man's name will not be put on the birth certificate until he becomes the legal father. Check the PATERNITY section for more information.
My ex is making more money, now. Shouldn't I get more child support?
Over time, circumstances may change. If a change is substantial, a modification, or change in the order, may be needed. To change the child support order, parties may do a Stipulation and Order, obtain a Pro Se Modification packet from the Clerk of Courts, or hire an attorney. Check the ORDER MODIFICATION section for more information.
A review is a procedure to look at an existing child support order. The review is done by the county child support agency upon request of either parent. A review can be requested by any party to the case at any time. Every three years, the child support agency will notify both parents of their right to ask for a review of their child support order.
An adjustment will be pursued IF the review shows a substantial change in circumstances (for example, the paying parent's employer closes down, or the paying parent has a new job and is making a lot more money). The change in the child support amount must be greater than 15% of the current order, or the difference must be more than $50.00 each month, to be deemed substantial by our agency.
An adjustment of an order requires a new order. This can be done by PRO SE Stipulation and Order, which is an agreement between the parties of a case. Check the ORDER MODIFICATION section for more information.
My ex is not paying me now. Will you send my ex to jail?
When a payer is seriously behind in child support payments, or is not complying the conditions of an order to seek work, a CONTEMPT proceeding may be considered. If the court finds a person is in contempt of court, the court may order a jail sentence of up to six months, but will set "purge" conditions. The purge conditions may be an amount of money that the person must pay or it may be actions that the person must take to avoid jail. Check the ORDER ENFORCEMENT sections for more information.
Will my tax refund be taken for child support?
The tax intercept program is one tool used by the Child Support Agency to assist with child support collection. The tax intercept program allows the Child Support Agency to intercept a payer's federal and state tax refund, and apply the refund to past-due child support and/or birth expenses. In general, a State tax intercept will be applied to current support due, then to past-due support (arrears), then to other debts. A Federal tax intercept will be applied to past due support that is assigned, such as birth expenses.
The U.S. Treasury and the state DOR will mail a notice to the payer when they intercept a refund. The notice will indicate the amount that was intercepted and where the money was sent. See the FINANCIAL section for more information.
My account says I owe arrears. What does that mean?
Past-due, or unpaid child support, accumulates as arrears. WI Statutes state that a party ordered to pay child support shall pay simple interest per month on any amount in arrears that is equal to or greater than the amount of child support due in one month. For example, if the current order is for $200.00 per month, and the payer does not pay for 2 months, the total arrears would be $400.00, and interest would be charged each month on the arrears balance. See the FINANCIAL section for more information.
What is the $25 “CP FEE” and is that my money?
Federal regulations (Deficit Reduction Act of 2005) require states to collect an annual fee from the court-ordered payee in each federal case that has not received TANF cash assistance or AFDC and that has received at least $500.00 in the federal fiscal year. This fee was effective October 1, 2008, and is deducted from the child support payment once the $500.00 has been collected. Check the FINANCIAL section for more information.
What is the RD fee and why do I have to pay it?
The State of Wisconsin charges the receiving and disbursing fee (R&D fee) for maintaining the payment record on a family case. The fee is charged per year for any case that has a child support, family support, maintenance, medical obligation, or arrears. It is paid by the court ordered payer on the case. See the FINANCIAL section for more information.
When children receive public funds (Child Care, Medical Assistance), the case is automatically referred to the Child Support Agency by the Human Services Department. The Child Support Agency then attempts to recover from the non-custodial parent, for taxpayers, the value of the public assistance which has been provided. In non-aid cases, the Child Support Agency will provide assistance to custodial parents upon application. To obtain an application, please call us or go to: Child Support Applications
When a child is born to parents who are not married, the Child Support Agency will prosecute paternity actions to see that the father is legally named and that the child support and all expenses related to the birth of the child are paid.
The Child Support Agency reviews support orders for modification and pursues collection of child support arrearages through actions which include court orders, income withholding, liens, money judgments, and intercept of State and Federal income tax refunds and lottery winnings. You will find more information regarding these topics further down this page.
The Child Support Agency cannot give legal advice. You may wish to contact Lawyer Referral & Information Service at 800-362-9082, or Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. at 800-236-1128.
The Child Support Agency does not accept child support payments. Payments must be made payable to WI SCTF and be sent to the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund Box 74200 Milwaukee, WI 53274-0200. The phone number is (800) 991-5530.
You can check your payments on-line at: www.dcf.state.wi.us/bcs/payments/, and you can also sign up for Direct Deposit. You can find an explanation of terms used on the Monthly Statement of Account at: www.dcf.state.wi.us/bcs/.
The Child Support Agency is not able to provide assistance with custody or placement issues. Please contact Mediation Services at (262) 335-4838.
It is important that you keep us up to date with any change in Address, Phone Number, or Employment Updates. Please call us at (262) 335-4377 to provide this information.
The Washington County Child Support Agency will start charging new fees effective January 1, 2014 for the following services on Non-Aid (N-IVD) cases:
1) ACCOUNT RECONCILIATION - $40.00 per request Upon a written request by a party to the case, the Agency will perform an account reconciliation for a fee of $40.00 per request, which shall be paid prior to performance of services.
2) INCOME WITHHOLDING ORDER ENTRY - $40.00 Upon a written request by a party to the case, the Agency will draft and send an Income Withholding Order upon the establishment of a support order, in the event of a new employer or unemployment claim, or a modification of an order (including adding an arrearage payment) for a fee of $40.00, which shall be paid prior to the performance of services.
3) RECONCILIATION OF PERCENTAGE EXPRESSED ORDERS - $40.00 per request Upon a written request by a party to the case, the Agency will reconcile an account history with a percentage expressed order to ensure that the amount of support paid to the date of the request and any arrearage are accurate for a fee of $40.00 per request, which shall be paid prior to the performance of services.
This fee schedule is in accordance with Washington County Ordinance. These fees are due the Washington County Child Support Agency and payment of these fees should be made to the Washington County Child Support Agency. Please ask for assistance if you have questions regarding these fees. In most cases, you may apply for our services to avoid these fees. Please ask for an application or more information at the Child Support Agency.
The circuit court e-Filing system allows attorneys and parties to electronically file new cases and documents for civil, family and small claims cases in the Wisconsin circuit courts.
In 2014, the Washington County Child Support Agency piloted e-Filing for some new paternity cases for the State of Wisconsin, and we are now e-Filing on other family cases as well.
An “opt- in” fee of $5.00 is charged per party for e-Filing by the Clerk of Courts, and allows case participants to view most court documents at any time.
For more information on the benefits of e-filing, please click on the following link:
Payment Information: Payment of child support is made to the Wisconsin Support Collection Trust Fund (WI-SCTF), unless your order states otherwise. Access your information ANYTIME with an on-line account access. The site displays payments and account balances. This account also allows payer's to print payment coupons. You can request a FREE payment history from the WI-SCTF by calling them Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, at: Metro Milwaukee area (414) 615-2400 Outside the Metro Milwaukee area (800) 991-5530 TDD (877) 209-5209 The WI-SCTF will mail the payment history. How to Read a Payment History will provide you with instruction on understanding the payment history. If you need a payment history right away, you can request it in person from the Child Support Agency for a nominal fee ($0.25 per page)
Debit Card: Is your child support debit card going to expire soon? CHASE will be mailing new debit cards a few weeks befor the "good thru" date stamped on your card. Make sure that CHASE has your current address. The post office will not forward your replacement card to your new address. If you have moved, please call CHASE to update your address at: 1-866-817-0761.
Order for Support by Income Withholding: Child Support, although usually set monthly, is deducted per pay period. For example, if you are ordered to pay $200.00 per month and are paid weekly, your deduction is $46.15. This is arrived at by taking $200.00 x 12 months in a year divided by 52 pay periods. (Remember, there are 5 pay periods in some months) Therefore, $200 x 12 = 2400 divided by 52 = $46.15. If you are paid every other week, then $200 x 12 = 2400 divided by 26 pay periods = $92.30. Most months you will pay a little less than $200 per month and some months you will pay more, but it averages out during the course of the year. Child Support is typically ordered to be paid by income withholding. WI Statute 767.75 (3h) allows your employer to deduct up to $3.00 per withholding (case) for their administrative costs. That amount will probably be reflected on your paycheck if your employer charges this. It is usually charged each pay period for each withholding.
N-IVD CASES The Child Support Agency charges a fee for sending the Income Withholding notice to employers in N-IVD cases. The fee is payable to the Washington County Child Support Agency. Please see CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES -FEES for more information on N-IVD cases.
Past-Due Support (Arrears) and Interest Charging: Past-due, or unpaid child support, accumulates as arrears. WI Statute 767.511(6) states that a party ordered to pay child support shall pay simple interest at the rate of 0.5% per month on any amount in arrears that is equal to or greater than the amount of child support due in one month. For example, if the current order is for $200.00 per month, and the payer does not pay for 2 months, the total arrears would be $400.00, and interest of 0.5% would be charged each month on the arrears balance. If the party no longer has a current obligation to pay child support, interest at the rate of 0.5% per month shall accrue on the total amount of child support in arrears. Interest will be charged for the arrears over the monthly order of $200 per month until the arrears balance is less than the former support order amount (less than $200.00 in the example above).
Tax Intercept Program (for more detailed information on the Tax Intercept program, click here) The tax intercept program is one tool used by the Child Support Agency to assist with child support collection. The tax intercept program allows the Child Support Agency to intercept a payer's federal and state tax refund, and apply the refund to past-due child support and/or birth expenses. In general, a State tax intercept will be applied to current support due, then to past-due support (arrears), then to other debts. A Federal tax intercept will be applied to past due support that is assigned, such as birth expenses. The Child Support Agency sends the names of parents who owe past-due support to both the IRS and the Wisconsin DOR. The payer must file a tax return and be eligible for a refund for this tool to be effective. If the IRS and state DOR process returns at the same time, both agencies might intercept refunds. If just one of the refunds pays the entire amount owed, the other refund is returned. On the other hand, if the first refund did not pay the entire debt, the second refund will be applied to the balance of the debt. Any refund remaining after the debt due is paid in full will be returned. The U.S. Treasury and the state DOR will mail a notice to the payer when they intercept a refund. The notice will indicate the amount that was intercepted and where the money was sent. If you plan to file a joint return with a spouse, the Injured Spouse Claim will allow your spouse to receive up to half of the refund. If you have questions about the Injured Spouse Claim, or if your spouse's portion of a refund was intercepted after you filed an Injured Spouse Claim, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
Graduation Procedures: In general, the order for support will terminate upon the later of last child's 18th birthday, or on the date of graduation from High School. For example, if a child turns 18 on May 20, and graduates on June 10, child support continues until June 10. If a child turns 18, continues to attend High School, and turns 19 before graduating, child support ends on the 19th birthday. See Section 767.511 (4) of the Wisconsin Statutes. If the graduating child is not the youngest child, the child support order and income withholding will not change unless there are specific provisions in the current child support order or judgment of divorce indicating the date and the change in the amount of support to be paid. To change the child support order, parties may do a Stipulation and Order, obtain a Pro Se Modification packet with the Clerk of Courts, or hire an attorney.
RELATED SITES Child Support Online Service
Petition to Waive Filing and Service Fees
ORDERS TO SHOW CAUSE One of the initial court actions often taken is an Order to Show Cause - Seek Work. This is an order for the payer to make specific efforts to obtain employment so that child support payments can be made. The Child Support Agency is responsible to monitor compliance with OSC - Seek Work orders of the court. After a Seek Work Order is rendered, a Review of Seek Work is scheduled. This is so the court can follow up on compliance with the Seek Work Order. If the person has not found work yet, but is compliant with the search, a FURTHER PROCEEDING may be scheduled to continue to monitor progress. The Workforce Development Center has excellent resources for people looking for work in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Contact them at (262) 335- 5300, or visit them at: http://www.wfdc.org/. For a listing of the Job Center near you, call (888)258-9966 or visit: http://www.wisconsinjobcenter.org/
To get the fee waived, the parent can fill out a Petition for Waiver of Fees . Remember, the responsibility for supporting a child rests with the parents of the child. A step-parent has no legal duty to support the children of his/her new spouse. A court cannot make a step-parent responsible for the costs of raising your child.
If a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment has not been filed, an Initial appearance will be held. The hearing is in the Family Court. There are several possible outcomes of an initial appearance:
· The potential father may admit to being the father and a judgment will be entered. He is legally adjudicated as the father. Custody, placement, and name change will be addressed. There will be a further hearing scheduled to address financial issues. An appointment should be scheduled with the Paternity Specialist to attempt settlement out of court.
· The potential father may admit that he is the father subject to genetic testing. Genetic testing will be ordered for the mother, child and the potential father and a new court date will be scheduled to review the results. Genetic testing is held on the third Thursday of each month at the Washington County Child Support Agency.
· The potential father denies that he is the father. Genetic testing will be ordered for the mother, child, and potential father. Another court date is scheduled to review the results of the genetic testing. A Pre-trial hearing may be set.
· There is more than one potential father, genetic testing will be ordered.
· The potential father has been served, but does not show up for the hearing. If there is only one potential father, the Family Court Commissioner may find him to be the father (default judgment of paternity). The decision whether to enter a default judgment is made on a case-by-case basis based upon the factual circumstances. An arrest warrant may be issued.
Most hearings are held in front of the Family Court Commissioner, or her designee. The mother, the (potential) father, the Family Court Commissioner, and the Child Support Attorney will be there. The Child Support Attorney represents the State of Wisconsin, not the mother or (potential) father. Either party may hire his or her own attorney.
If any party fails to appear for any hearing, a capias (Order for Arrest) may be issued for the party who does not appear. It is always in your best interest to go to all paternity court hearings. If you do not appear at hearings, you run the risk of the case being dismissed, orders being entered without your input, or a warrant being issued for your arrest.
Once paternity is established, orders will be made regarding the child. These orders include:
· Custody: who is allowed to make major decisions about the child, such as health, education and religious concerns? There is a presumption of sole legal custody in the State of Wisconsin until paternity is established. Once established, the presumption is that joint custody is in the child's best interest.
· Primary Physical Placement: Where the child resides the majority of the time.
· Periods of Physical Placement: What used to be called “visitation”. This can be specific, with a set schedule, or left flexible.
**** If there are disagreements with Custody/Placement, the Court may order the parties into Mediation. The current charge for Mediation is $300.00. For more information on Mediation, please call (262) 335-4838. ****
· Name Change: If a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment was NOT filed, the Court will address name change. If the parties cannot agree on last name, the court may hyphenate the name.
· Current Child Support: If the custodial parent is receiving public assistance from the State of Wisconsin, other than medical assistance or food share, a child support order will be established. If parties reside together child support can be “held open”.
· Past Child Support: Past support may be set from the date after filing of paternity papers until the day prior to the current support obligation. Past support does NOT go back to the date of birth of the child.
· Birth Expenses: A portion of the birth expenses paid by the State may be ordered to be reimbursed by the father. If private insurance paid a portion of any birth expenses, evidence of said coverage should be submitted to the Child Support Agency. Payment for birth expenses is usually set at a minimal monthly amount. Repayment of birth expenses paid by the State cannot be requested from the mother.
· Fees Incurred: If applicable, these could be the birth certificate filing fee (to add the father's name to the birth certificate/change the child's name) and service fees.
· Health Insurance: Parents should provide information regarding any private health insurance they have or can obtain through their employer.
If a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment has been filed, a court hearing is required to address all issues, unless a complete settlement is made with the Child Support Agency. The issues include custody, placement, child support, back child support, birth expenses, fees, health insurance and tax exemption. An appointment can be scheduled with the Paternity Specialist to attempt settlement out of court.
West Bend, WI 53095