Fees and Costs for Child Support Services

Parents and guardians pay fees and other costs for the services they receive.

Definitions for the terms below:

  • Custodial Parent - The parent who has sole custody or has the child(ren) the majority of the time.
  • Non-Custodial Parent - The parent who does not have sole custody of his or her child(ren).

Fees Paid by the Custodial Parent

Annual Custodial Parent (CP) Fee

The $35 annual CP fee is used to pay back the state and the federal government for part of the cost of providing child support services. The federal government requires states to charge the fee, and it cannot be waived. Certain child support cases are not charged the fee, as outlined below.

Cases that are charged the annual $35 fee (as of Oct. 1, 2019)

  • The fee is charged each year, after Oct. 1, when a child support case receives $550 or more in support for the year.
  • The fee will be taken out of the support payment before the payment is sent to the parent. Because of this, you may notice that your regular payment is $35 less than it normally is.
  • In cases where another state is providing child support services, that other state charges and collects the annual fee.

Cases that are NOT charged the annual fee

  • The fee is not charged to parents or guardians who currently receive or have ever received cash benefits from the W-2, SSI Caretaker Supplement, Kinship Care, or AFDC programs.
  • Tribal child support cases are not charged the fee.
  • Spousal-support-only cases are not charged the fee.

CP Fee Increase - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to pay this fee?

The fee increase is required by federal Public Law 115-123, which was signed into law on Feb. 9, 2018. Section 53117 of PL 115-123, modernizing child support enforcement fees, amends, Section 454 (6) (B) (ii) of the Social Security Act to increase the annual collection fee from $25.00 to $35.00. In addition, the law revises the amount from $500.00 to $550.00 that the state must collect and disburse to the family before imposing the CP fee each federal fiscal Year (October 1 through September 30). This fee is also authorized under Wis. Stat. § 767.57(1e)(c). Anyone who has ever received AFDC or W2 cash assistance (including Caretaker Supplement and or/Kinship Care) is not required to pay the fee.

Who pays the fee?

The person receiving support pays the fee. The child support computer system will automatically deduct the fee from your next payment after the first $550 of support you receive in the year.

What dates constitute a year?

This fee is based on the federal fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1 and ends on Sept. 30 of the next year. The fee will be deducted once each year from your support payments after you receive $550 or more during the federal fiscal year.

Can I pay the fee myself?

No, it must be automatically deducted before the child support, maintenance or arrears payments are sent to you.

Can I pay the $35 by making smaller payments during the year?

No, payments will be automatically deducted from your support until the entire $35 charge is paid. Federal law requires that after $550 has been paid to you, the $35 must be deducted to pay the fee.

If I have more than one court case, do I owe the fee on each court case?

Yes, if you get support from more than one payer (more than one court case), the fee will be deducted from each case where at least $550 in support is collected and sent to you.

Why is this fee being charged to the person receiving support rather than the NCP (non-custodial parent)?

The NCP is charged a Receiving and Disbursing (R & D) fee of $65 per year. The R & D fee helps pay the costs for operating the child support computer system.

Where does the $35.00 fee go?

The fees collected are used to help pay the costs for operation of the child support program. Since the federal government pays 2/3 of the costs of the child support program, the fee is split between the federal government and the state to help fund the child support program.

I do not receive child support enforcement services from the county child support agency; do I still have to pay the fee?

Yes, in Wisconsin, all child support payments go through the Support Collections Trust Fund and the KIDS system even for cases that are not receiving enforcement services from the county child support agency.

If I was on welfare cash assistance in another state, will I get charged the fee?

We may not know you received welfare cash assistance in another state. If you get charged a fee and you received welfare cash assistance, please provide proof of former AFDC or TANF cash assistance from the other state to your county child support agency.

Tax Intercept Fee

If you receive a support payment from a tax refund, the fee is 10% of each collection over $10, and:

  • The fee will not be more than $25.
  • The fee is taken out of the intercepted tax refund payment before it is sent to the parent.
  • No fee is charged on any portion of the intercepted tax refund used to pay support owed to the state.
  • This fee cannot be waived.

Debit Card Fees

The bank that manages the child support debit card charges fees for some card services, such as using an out-of-network ATM, replacing a lost card, and having transactions denied.

Fees Paid by the Non-Custodial Parent

Employer Charges for Income Withholding

Employers may charge a fee to cover their costs to withhold support. This fee is taken from the parent's wages, commission check, or other source of income, but not from the support payment sent to the other parent. By law, the fee must be the actual cost to the employer, but may not be more than $3.00 for each withholding.

Employers may charge more than one fee from the same paycheck if:

  • There are withholdings for child support and R&D fees from the same paycheck. This requires two separate mailings.
  • There are withholdings for two child support orders from the same paycheck, and one of the orders is for a different state.

Employers may NOT charge more than $3 per paycheck unless your situation is one of the two outlined above.

Employers may NOT charge a fee for sending withheld premiums to an insurance provider.

Receipt and Disbursement (R&D) Fee

The R&D fee helps pay the cost of processing payments and maintaining payment records for your child support case(s).

  • The $65 fee is charged each year on each court case.
  • Paying parents receive a R&D fee notice and payment coupon each January.
  • If the fee is not paid in full, the fee may be collected through income withholding.

Ways to pay the R&D Fee

Payment options are:

Online payment:

  • If you haven’t used ExpertPay before, create an account on ExpertPay.com. There is no fee to use ExpertPay if you are using a bank account. Fees may apply if using other payment methods. There is a one-time setup fee of $2.50.
  • Enter first and last name, SSN, and Child Support PIN (add leading zeros if Child Support PIN is not 10 digits) which can be found on this notice above.
  • Select the R&D Payment button.
  • Amount will default to $65, but you can change the amount
  • Provide payment (Debit Card, Credit Card, PayPal, Venmo, etc.) information through ExpertPay.
  • Do not combine R&D payments and support payments.

Check payment:

Fees Charged to or Shared by Both Parents

Fees for Reviewing & Modifying an Order

Most courts charge a $30 filing fee for hearings to review or change an order.

  • Some courts do not charge a filing fee.
  • The fee is charged to the parent who asks for the review/change.
  • No fee is charged if the parent or guardian receives cash benefits from the W-2, SSI Caretaker Supplement, or Kinship Care programs.

Child Support Agencies do not charge a fee for reviewing the order and taking steps to change an order. Find out more about requesting a review through your child support agency.

Intergovernmental Fees

Some states charge a fee for enforcement activities in their state. If the other state does charge a fee, it takes the fee out of the support collection before sending it to Wisconsin.

  • These fees vary depending on the state rules.
  • Some states charge fees to the parent who gets support.
  • Some states charge fees to the parent who pays support.

Genetic Testing Fees

There is a fee charged when parents request genetic testing.

  • Child Support Agencies offer genetic testing at reduced cost.
  • The cost of testing varies. The maximum fee is $60 for each person tested when done at a child support agency. Tests are completed on the man, woman, and child.
  • No fee is charged to a man when the test shows he is not the father.

Find out more about genetic testing done at the child support agency.

Non IV-D R & D Fee Intercept FAQ (debt certification)

Each November, starting in 2017, the child support program will begin certifying Receipt & Disbursement debts for state tax intercept on Non IV-D cases in Wisconsin. Below you will find some frequently asked questions and answers that parents have regarding this change.

**Note: No debts will be certified for federal tax intercept. This applies to state tax refunds only.**

What is a Non IV-D Case, and how do I know if I have one?

A Non IV-D case is one that does not receive Case Management Services from a local child support agency, but does receive Financial Management Services. You have a Non IV-D case if a local child support agency has not received a public assistance referral or an application for child support program services; or if a payee not receiving public assistance has formally declined child support program services; or if a case has a court order for spousal support only. County child support agencies may only provide child support enforcement services for cases that are referred to the agency because the family is receiving certain forms of public assistance, or for cases where a parent has filed an application for services. These are referred to as “public cases” (or IV-D cases).

What is a Receipt and Disbursement (R&D) fee?

Wis. Stat. s.767.57 requires that each court case is charged a $65 fee each year for receiving and disbursing child support, family support, or spousal support payments. The court requires that a person ordered to make payments must pay the fee in each year for which payments are ordered or in which past-due support is owed. The R&D fee helps pay the cost of processing payments and maintaining payment records.

What does Non IV-D R&D debt certification mean?

This means that your unpaid R&D debt balances were reported to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR). The DOR may deduct these balances from any state tax refund, lottery winnings, unclaimed property, or DOA vendor payment before it is issued to you.

Why is my Non IV-D R&D debt now certified with the DOR?

Wis. Stat. s. 49.855(1) was amended in 2015 and requires that the Bureau of Child Support certify Non IV-D R&D debts to DOR for state income tax refund intercept.

What criteria is used to determine if my case is eligible for Non IV-D R&D certification?

To be eligible for certification, each of the following must be true:  

  • You are a court-ordered payer in a child support, family support, or spousal support case
  • You have unpaid R&D fee debt on a Non IV-D case
  • You have a verified Social Security Number
  • You are not a payer in a non-closed IV-D (enforceable) case valid for new enforcement actions.
  • Your court case has a total R&D balance greater than $65
  • Your court case did not have a payment to the R&D debt in the current year or up to 2 years prior

Starting in November 2018, certain Non IV-D cases will NOT be eligible for certification if they meet certain other criteria; for example, if a payer is deceased or if a case has gone a long period without any financial activity.

How do I know if I owe R&D fees?

Each year in January, you will receive a notice to pay the annual R&D fee. If the fee is not paid, and the payer is employed, your employer will be sent a notice to pay the fee in July; and if a balance remains, again in October. If you have no known employer, notices are sent to you each quarter at your last known address. It is important you keep your address up to date. You can manage your address and view your payments online here.

How will I know if I have a certified Non IV-D R&D debt?

Each year in late November, 30 days prior to submitting the certification to DOR, you will receive a notice in the mail to inform you that past due R&D debt balances on each eligible, Non IV-D court case will be certified with the DOR for offset of any tax refund due in the upcoming year. The amount shown is the balance that was due on the date that the notice was created. A copy of the notice may be viewed here.

Does the child support agency know if I have a certified Non IV-D R&D debt?

Yes. The child support program’s case management database keeps track of each court case with an eligible Non IV-D R& debt. Local child support agency staff can view this information.

What if I need more information about the tax intercept notice?

A toll free number (1-877-209-5212) is displayed at the top of the notice that provides additional information about the notice.

What if the amount due on the Tax Intercept notice doesn't match the amount I've seen on other statements?

The debt balance amount actually certified to DOR will be the current balance as of December 31. If more money is intercepted than is owed, you will be issued a refund of any amount overpaid.

What if I disagree that I owe the R&D fees displayed on the notice?

You have the right to contest whether the R&D balances are owed by requesting an administrative review. Download the Request for Review Form. The request must be mailed to the Wisconsin State Bureau of Child Support, P.O. Box 7935, Madison WI, 53707-7935, and should include:  

  • Your name
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Case Number
  • Current address
  • Telephone number

Administrative review requests can be made at any time and do not require the presence of an attorney. The written requests for an Administrative Review will be reviewed by the Bureau of Child Support. Only requests in writing will receive a response.

When is the Non IV-D certification submitted to DOR?

Each December, the Bureau of Child Support will provide DOR with a list of cases with Non IV-D R&D debts to certify for state tax intercept of any state tax refunds due in the upcoming year.

How will I know if my state tax refund has been intercepted to pay a certified Non IV-D R&D debt?

You will receive a separate tax refund intercept notice from DOR when a tax refund is actually taken to pay your R&D debt balances.  

If you have not kept your address current with the child support program, you may not have received the initial notice of Non IV-D R&D certification sent in November. This may be the first time you become aware that your case was certified for Non IV-D R&D tax intercept.

Is a fee charged?

The child support program will not charge a fee for collections received from DOR and applied to an R&D fee balance.  

DOR will charge its own separate fee of $5 for each income tax refund it intercepts and sends to the child support program. For example, if you are certified to DOR for a Non IV-D R&D debt of $800 and your refund is $700, then DOR will intercept $700, keep $5, and send $695 to the child support program. You will receive credit in our records for a $695 payment. The $5 DOR fee is non-refundable.

Does the child support agency know when the DOR intercepts all or part of my tax refund to pay Non IV-D R&D debt?

Yes. The child support program’s case management database keeps track of each court case with an eligible Non IV-D R&D debt. Local child support agency staff can view collections that were applied to this debt.