Questions Parents ask about Enforcing an Order
- Parent Who Owes Support
- Parent Who Is Owed Support
- Why am I not getting my support?
- Can I ask for enforcement?
- Can my child support agency help if the other parent moves to another state or another country?
- Why don't you just put him/her in jail?
- Why don't you just arrest him/her?
- I don't like what the court decided...now what?
- Why haven't you gone to court yet?
- I don't want you to take certain actions against the other parent
- Can I hire a private collection agency?
You can get a copy of your payment history from Child Support Online Services (registration required). You may also get a copy of your payment records by calling the KIDS Information Line, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (central time).
If you think there is an error, contact your child support agency to discuss the possible reasons for the discrepancy. (This assumes you are getting child support services from your child support agency by either applying for services or being referred through a public aid/benefit program.) You must provide evidence that the amount is in error. The child support agency will review your case to determine if there is an error. If you do not agree with the child support agency’s decision, you may request a court review.
What if I lose my job?
Your child support order continues after a job loss because only a court can change the amount of your child support order. If your job loss will result in a substantial change to your income you may seek a change in the amount of the child support that you are ordered to pay. Contact your child support agency or your attorney to find out how to ask the court to change your order as this is not automatic. For more information, please see Job Loss and Child Support.
What if I get called to active duty?
If child support is normally withheld from your civilian paycheck, than it will need to be withheld from your military pay. Please contact the child support agency where your order was established. For more information, please see the information for Parents in the Military.
What if my pay and/or hours were cut?
If a substantial change in circumstances reduces your ability to pay the child support amount ordered, see how you can have your order reviewed for a change.
- If you lose your job or get called to active duty, please call your child support agency. They may be able to help you avoid getting in debt.
- Pay past-due support in full. One way you could do this is by taking out a loan. Once past-due support is paid, stay current.
- If you change jobs, make sure your support is paid on time. If there is a delay in your new income withholding, send in your payment with a payment coupon.
- Arrange a payment plan for
past-due support with your child support agency.
The other parent won't let me spend time with my
children...can you help?
No. Only the court has the authority and responsibility to enforce legal custody, visitation, and placement orders. Child support agencies have no authority or responsibility for these issues.
Why am I not getting my support?
Although the Wisconsin Child Support program is a national leader in support collections, not all families receive child support in any given month. The most common difficulty is that the other parent’s address and/or employer are not known. Please note: if you have not applied for services from the child support agency or have not been referred by a public aid or benefit program to the agency, the child support agency will not monitor or take enforcement actions on your case.
Can I ask for enforcement?
You may contact your child support agency and ask for enforcement of your child support order if the other parent does not make a payment for more than a month if you get full child support services by applying for services or being referred through a public aid/benefit program.
Can my child support agency help if the other parent moves to another
state or another country?
Yes. Most child support services, including enforcement, are available locally if the parent lives in another state and may be available if the parent lives in another country. Parents may apply for child support services from their local child support agency regardless of where the other parent lives or where their order is from.
Why does the agency keep sending letters? I want the other parent in jail.
Child support agencies have many tools to help them enforce child support orders. Some tools, such as charging interest on past-due support, are done automatically. For the most efficient and effective use of staff time, child support agencies use their experience to choose what tools (actions) they take and when. For instance, they might write warning letters before they take a more drastic action. Some enforcement tools and actions require due process or a court action. Jail is not always the best way to get money for your children.
Can child support agencies arrest the other parent?
No. Child support agencies cannot arrest anyone. The child support agency can send a warrant to the court for signature. If the court signs and files a warrant, the warrant is sent to the sheriff’s office. The warrant gives the sheriff’s office authority to arrest a person.
The last time we went to court I did not agree with what the court
decided. What can I do?
When a court rules on a case, the child support agency cannot change the ruling. As with any court decision, you may appeal the decision to a higher court or hire an attorney to appeal. You may ask your caseworker if there are other options you or the agency can use.
Weeks ago my caseworker said that the agency would take my case to court
because the other parent is not paying. Why haven’t they gone to court yet?
It takes time to set a court date. The court might not be able to schedule your case immediately.
I do not want certain actions taken against the other parent when payments
are not made. What can I do?
Federal regulations require child support agencies to provide all services that are proper for a case. You may not choose limited services, unless you apply for "Locate Parent Only Services" – there is a $25 fee for this limited service. If you do not receive cash benefits, you have the option of asking your child support agency to close your child support services. Please send your written request to stop services to your child support agency. By state law, your child support still needs to be paid through the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund. If you later change your mind and want to again receive full child support services, you may reapply for services.
Can I use a private collection agency?
Yes. You may employ a private attorney, a private investigator, and/or a private collection agency to establish and enforce your child support order. You should inform your child support agency if you do so. All payments must still go through the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund.
Important to Know about Using Private Collection
Links to Court Forms & Legal Resources (including custody and visitation).