When Child Support Ends

Young adults smiling and throwing their caps at graduation.

Under Wisconsin law, a parent's duty to support his or her child continues until the child turns 18, or age 19 if the child is still enrolled in high school or working on a high school equivalency course (GED). If past-due support is owed, the child support case is still enforceable.

Notices Sent to Parents

Notices will be sent to both parents 90 days before the verified date of the 18th birthday of their youngest child. The order for current support will end when the youngest child turns 18 unless a parent shows proof to the child support agency that the child is still attending high school or is enrolled in a program to obtain his or her GED. If your child is going to be 18 soon and you have not received a notice in the mail, you should contact your Local Child Support Agency to ensure that your address is up to date.

When Past-Due Support is Still Owed

If past-due support is owed when current support ends, the child support will continue to be enforced and collected. Income withholding may continue at the same level of collection until past-due child support is paid in full. Cases with past-due support may be enforced up to 20 years after the youngest child reaches the age of 18.

Questions Parents ask about When Child Support Ends

The other parent owes me past-due child support. I do not want it. What can I do?

You and the other parent may sign a legal agreement (stipulation) reducing or eliminating the past-due child support owed to you. The court must approve this agreement. This agreement will not change any support that a parent might owe the state. You should make your decision carefully, as you cannot reverse this action. If you forgive child support owed to you, it is forgiven forever.

My daughter turned 18 in February, but does not graduate from high school until June. When will my child support order end?

Your duty to pay current child support ends during the month that your 18-year-old daughter graduates. Check your child support order to see if the end date for graduation has been provided. If not, and you know your child's graduation date, contact your child support agency.

My son dropped out of high school. He will turn 18 in a few months. When can I stop paying child support?

Your order for current support will end when your child turns 18, unless you or the other parent shows documentation to the child support agency that your child has returned to high school or is enrolled in a program to obtain his GED.

I still want my support, but I do not want child support services anymore. How do I stop the child support services?

To end case management services, send your written request to end services to your child support agency. By state law, your child support still needs to be paid through the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund. However, if you are not receiving W-2 services or cash benefits, you may stop enforcement services. If you later change your mind and want to receive services again, you may reapply with the child support agency.

My children no longer live with the other parent. They now live with their grandparents. Do I still have to pay support?

Yes. You are still responsible for supporting your children and making payments as ordered. However, you may want to ask the court to name the grandparents as the ones who get your support payments.