When Parents Live in Other States, Countries, or Tribal Lands
Most child support services are available locally. 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. When Wisconsin needs another state's help establishing or enforcing a support case, this is called an "intergovernmental case." Actions taken outside of Wisconsin might take longer than actions taken in Wisconsin. Other states might charge fees for inter-jurisdictional cases.
When the child, the mother, and the father leave Wisconsin, Wisconsin has no legal jurisdiction to establish or change a support order. However, the Wisconsin Child Support program may continue to provide services to the parents.
Note: If a parent is in the military and is stationed overseas, the Child Support program generally handles the case as if the parent lived in another state. However, there may be some delays for action on cases where service members are called into active duty.
When Parents Live in Different States
All state child support programs are very much alike. However, some child support laws and practices might differ. A "state" can be one of the 50 states, Washington DC, or any of the US territories which include American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. In most cases, parents do not have to travel to another state to attend hearings. Parents should check with their child support agency about attending hearings by phone.
Parents should know that the Wisconsin Child Support program:
- assumes both parents are responsible for supporting their children
- may provide services to parents with a Wisconsin child support court order even if they live in another state
- will provide services to parents who live in Wisconsin but have a child support order from another state
Child support programs in every state work together to provide services for children. Every state will honor another state's child support order.
- When a parent lives in another state, Wisconsin does not always need the other state's help with enforcing the court order. For example, if the paying parent lives in another state, Wisconsin may be able to ask the paying parent's employer to withhold income for support.
- The child support agency will determine when another state's help is needed. Parents do not need to contact the other state. The child support agency will take care of that.
- If a case has orders from more than one state, the child support agency will determine which order is the one that will be enforced.
- The parent's child support agency will keep in contact with the other state to check the status of the case.
- Parents should provide complete and accurate information. Parents should tell their child support agency if they have any information that might be helpful, such as where the other parent lives or works. Their child support agency may forward the information to the other state.
When Parents Live on Tribal Lands or are a Tribal Member
Tribal communities are sovereign nations. State and Tribal Child Support programs work together to provide services for children. State and Tribal Child Support programs are very much alike. However, some child support laws and practices might differ.
- Tribal Child Support programs work under their own child support laws and courts. The Tribal Child Support programs differ from one another according to their local laws and customs.
- Some Tribal Child Support programs will accept a state's child support orders, others do not.
When Parents Live in Different Countries
The United States and Wisconsin have Child Support program agreements with other countries to help with establishing legal fatherhood (paternity) and support orders as well as enforcing support orders. These countries include:
- Czech Republic
- El Salvador
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales)