Job Loss and Child Support

What You Need to Know

  • By law, you must tell your child support agency within 10 days if you lose your job, if your income changes, if you get a new job, or if you change jobs. These changes will not change your court ordered payment amounts.
  • 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 is expected to last longer than 6 to 8 weeks or will result in a substantial change to your income, you may ask to have your court order reviewed for a change. Contact your local child support agency or your attorney to find out how to ask the court to change your order. This is not automatic.
  • Parents can also file a motion on their own directly with the court . For information on filing a pro se motion, please contact the clerk of courts office in the county where your order is entered. You can find the forms you need by visiting http://www.wicourts.gov/services/public/prose.htm
  • If child support payments were taken out of your paycheck, child support payments will now be withheld from your Unemployment Insurance checks.

Withholding Support from Unemployment Benefits

State policy allows up to 50% of your Wisconsin unemployment checks to be withheld for support. If deductions related to unemployment such as penalties or overpayments reduce your unemployment benefits, 50% of what remains can still be withheld. For example, your unemployment is $300 per week, but $50 is deducted for an overpayment. The balance of your unemployment benefit is $250 ($300 - $50). Up to $125 (half of the balance) can be withheld for support. If you owe $150 each week for support, you are still responsible to pay the remaining $25.

Your next child support payment may be due before you get your first Unemployment check. It is still your responsibility to make that support payment. It is also possible you will owe more support than what is withheld from your Unemployment checks. You can make these payments using this printer-friendly payment coupon.

Resources for Parents Who Lose Their Jobs

Updated September 27, 2012

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.