For many parents, establishing a child support order does not put the matter to rest entirely. In time, circumstances can evolve, making arrangements no longer affordable or reasonable. Perhaps you or the other parent lost a job; maybe your child has moved out or gone off to college.
When certain significant life events happen, it is possible to modify child support orders under Wisconsin family law.
How Do You Modify Child Support Orders In Wisconsin?
If your circumstances have changed, do not sit idly by. Contact a reputable family law attorney to discuss your options. Many people assume divorce decrees and court orders are set in stone, but Wisconsin's court system has mechanisms in place to allow for modifications when warranted.
You may be able to modify your child support order if you can prove a substantial change in circumstances. This is possible through a hearing in front of a commissioner or judge, or by filing a Stipulation with the court. The latter states that you and the other parent have reached an agreement.
The court may take discretion when determining whether your change in circumstance is significant enough to call for a child support modification. Common life changes resulting in modifications include:
- A significant change in income; this would typically be a shift of $5,000 or more annually. (This may not be considered substantial enough in all cases.)
- The child has turned 18 or graduated from high school.
- The placement schedule has changed.
- The child has developed needs that result in increased health care or education costs.
- A parent has become disabled.
- A parent has moved, leading to increased transportation costs.
If you have experienced a significant change like those mentioned above, and you believe your child support order is no longer reasonable as a result, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.
It is important to obtain a legal modification rather than simply changing your child support arrangement, with or without the other parent's approval, unofficially. Failing to obey your court order to pay a specific amount of child support in a certain timeframe can place you in contempt of court, resulting in serious consequences.