Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

Collecting Past-Due Child Support

Below are the initial actions used to collect money when a parent owes past-due support. These steps are taken prior to other enforcement actions, such as tax intercept and license suspension.

Charging Interest on Past-Due Support

Wisconsin law requires interest charges of 0.5% per month (6% a year) on past-due support. Interest charges begin when the past-due support amount equals or exceeds the amount due in one month.

Example:

  • The support order is for $300/month
  • The support amount owed is $500
  • $200 of the support amount owed is past-due
  • Interest will be charged on the past-due amount of $200

Interest is charged even if the parent is paying on the debt. It is not charged for unpaid birth costs or fees.

Increasing Income Withholding Amounts

If a parent owes past-due support, the amount withheld from their paycheck may be increased - up to 50% of the current support amount ordered by the court.

Example:

  • The court order is for $250/month
  • Another $125 (50% of $250) can be added to the income withholding notice
  • The total amount withheld would be $375/month until the past-due amount is paid in full

Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act

The federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) limits the total amount that can be withheld from a payer's wages. The withholding notice that your employer receives for you lists your withholding limits. If your employer cannot withhold the total support amount due, you still owe the amount that is not sent in by your employer. You may ask your employer to withhold all the support that is due, even if it is more than the CCPA limits allow.

The CCPA limits are:

  • 50% of your disposable income if you have a second family
  • 55% of your disposable income if you have a second family and have unpaid support that is 12 or more weeks overdue
  • 60% of your disposable income if you have no second family
  • 65% of your disposable income if you have no second family and have unpaid support that is 12 or more weeks overdue

Setting up a Payment Plan

A payment plan provides a way for you to make regular payments towards your past-due child support in amounts that may better fit your current financial situation. The payment plan requires that you meet your current support amount owed as well.

You must follow your payment plan by making all the payments when they are due. If you do not follow your payment plan, your child support agency can take actions against your bank accounts, property, and licenses. If you do not follow your payment plan, you may not be able to get government grants and loans.

Contact your local child support agency to set up a payment plan.

As long as you follow your payment plan, it will:

  • Stop actions to suspend or deny your recreational (hunting, fishing), driver's, and professional and occupational licenses.
  • Stop actions to seize your bank accounts, including checking, savings, IRAs, and mutual funds.
  • Stop actions to seize your titled property (home, car).
  • Allow you to apply for state government loans and grants.
  • Allow you to sell titled property with a child support lien.

A payment plan cannot:

  • Remove your child support lien. Only paying off your past-due child support can remove your name from the child support lien docket.
  • Stop your tax refunds from being taken to pay the past-due support owed.
  • Stop the interception of your lump-sum payments from a public retirement fund.
  • Prevent denial of a passport.