Frequently Asked Questions
I have questions about custody or visitation - who can help me?
The child support agency cannot assist with custody and/or placement/visitation issues. You must contact your attorney or file a pro se (do-it-yourself) motion with the Vernon County Clerk of Courts.
View the following link to access pro se court forms.
What if I lose my job?
1. By law, you must tell your child support agency within ten (10) days if you lose your job, if your income changes, if you get a new job. These new circumstances will not change your court ordered payment amounts until a court revises your order.
2. Your court order for support continues after a job loss--only a court can change an order.
3. If child support payments were taken out of your paycheck, child support payments will now be withheld from your Unemployment Insurance checks.
4. If your job loss is expected to last longer than 6 to 8 weeks, you can ask to have your court order reviewed for a possible change. THIS IS NOT AUTOMATIC!
How do I request a review of my child support order?
Contact the child support agency handling your case to request a review of your child support order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last order was entered. Some examples of a substantial change in circumstances are:
1.The court changes a child’s placement from one parent to the other
2. The paying parent receives a raise that would lead to an increase of more than 15% and $50 per month
3. The parent receiving support begins to receive public assistance benefits and the order is old or no support was ordered
4. The paying parent becomes incapacitated and can no longer work. A review is the process of checking a child support order to see if it needs to be modified.
A modification of the order can result in an increase, a decrease or no change at all. Both parents will be mailed notice of the review and are required to provide current financial information to the child support agency. The child support agency and child support attorneys who appear at hearings represent the interests of the State of Wisconsin—they do not represent either parent.
Why does paternity need to be established for my child?
A child born outside of marriage will not have a legal father unless a paternity acknowledgment form is filled out and filed with the vital statistics office or paternity is established through a court hearing.
It is in the best interest of the child to have paternity established as it creates the legal relationship between a child and his or her father, gives the child inheritance rights, access to future benefits through the father (social security, veterans benefits, etc.), and access to the medical history of the father.
If you receive any public assistance for your child, the State of Wisconsin requires you to cooperate with paternity establishment efforts. Failure to cooperate may result in your benefits being sanctioned.
How can paternity be established?
Paternity can be established at any time after the birth of the child. In Wisconsin, there are 3 ways to establish paternity:
First, the mother and father can legally agree to the paternity of the father if there is no question as to who the father is and the mother is not married. To accomplish this, the mother and father must sign a special State form called the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment. Contact the child support agency for assistance if you would like to sign this form.
Second, the child support agency can file a legal action to establish paternity. Both the mother and father are notified of the case and have the opportunity to appear in court. Either party can ask for genetic tests before paternity is decided.
Third, if parents of a child marry after the birth of the child, paternity can be established through the use of the State's Legitimation form. The child support office can provide you with this form.
I'm not sure the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement is right for me.
Our office will explain to both parents the consequences of signing this form. If you wish to have genetic testing done before signing this form, our office can assist in setting up that testing.
There is a separate procedure for obtaining support orders once the form is completed. If you are receiving W2 benefits, your case will automatically be referred for order establishment. If either parent does not wish to sign the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment for any reason, the department may be able to file a paternity establishment case.
How do I schedule a paternity interview?
To request an appointment for paternity establishment services please call 608-637-5335.
How does the father's name get on the birth certificate?
When a child is born to a married woman, the husband's name goes on the birth certificate of the child. If the mother and father are not married, the man's name will not be put on the birth certificate until he becomes the legal father.
He can become the legal father through the filing of the state's Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form, or through a paternity court action. When a paternity judgment is ordered, the department will notify Wisconsin’s Division of Vital Statistics and the adjudicated father's name will be put on the birth certificate
What if the mother is married, but her husband is not the father of her child?
When a child is born while a mother is married, Wisconsin law considers the husband to be the father (this is called the marital presumption). If the mother states that her husband is not the father and is naming someone else, this marital presumption must be overcome before another man can be found to be the child's father.
I may be the father of a child born to a woman who is not married. Can I ask the department to start a paternity case?
Yes, a possible father can apply for services to establish paternity of a non-marital child. Call 608-637-5335 to schedule an appointment.
What types of cases are appropriate for order establishment?
If the parents have never been married, paternity must be established before the court can order child support to be paid. If the parents are married, the child support agency can file a legal action to compel the absent parent to support the family.
If a divorce has already been filed in Vernon County, the child support agency can file a motion within the divorce asking the court to set a support order. If you already have a Vernon County paternity or divorce case with no current support order, the child support agency can file a motion to ask that support be set if the circumstances have changed substantially since the last time the support issue was addressed by the court.
For example, if your ex-spouse was not working the last time the case was in court, no child support may have been ordered. If he or she is now working, we may be able to seek a support order at this time. If the parents were never married, but signed and filed a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form, the child support agency can file an action to compel the absent parent to support the child.
I no longer want to receive child support from the other parent - how can I stop my child support order?
You can only stop your order if you do not receive public assistance benefits. If both parents agree, you can file a pro se stipulation (a legal agreement signed by both parents then approved by the court) and submit that to the clerk of court’s office asking for approval from the family court commissioner to stop your order.
My parental rights have been terminated by the court. Why am I still receiving billing statements?
You must provide the child support office with a copy of the order terminating your parental rights for the current support obligation on your case to be stopped. You will continue to be responsible for any arrears, costs, and interest on your case that accrued before your parental rights were terminated. You will receive billing notices until all debts are paid in full.
My Child has graduated from high school - how do I stop my support order?
Wisconsin law requires you to pay child support until your child turns eighteen and graduates from high school, or, until your child turns nineteen, whichever is later. If your child is eighteen and has graduated from high school, you should provide proof of graduation to the child support agency.
Why am I still receiving billing statements when my child is over 19?
You will continue to be billed for any missed child support payments (arrears) or any fees or expenses that have been ordered on your case until the debts are paid in full. You will also be billed for any interest that has accrued on the arrears on your case.
I am making payments on my child support arrears. Why are my taxes still being intercepted?
Under state and federal law, once arrears have been certified for tax intercept, they remain certified and refunds will be intercepted until the outstanding amounts are paid in full, even if payments are being made.
I am married and my spouse's refund is being intercepted for my child support arrears because we filed a joint tax return. How can we avoid this in the future?
At the time of filing your tax return you should file an "injured spouse" claim. Any and all issues relating to the injured spouse claim need to be handled through the IRS.
Has an intercepted tax refund been paid on my arrears yet?
You can get tax intercept collection information by calling the KIDS Information Line 800-991-5530. You may also visit: WI SCTF
What is the fee for tax intercept service?
Tax intercept fee - the parent receiving a tax refund intercept must pay 10% of any collection of $10 or more, but not more than $25. It is taken out of the intercepted refund.
How do I report a change of address or new employer?
You can call the child support agency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 608-637-5335 to leave your new information. Please remember that you must provide your full name, PIN, or Social Security Number if you are leaving the message on our voicemail. You must also provide your current telephone number in the event we need to contact you to verify the information.
What is the R&D fee and why do I have to pay it?
Under Wisconsin law, the receipting and disbursing (R&D) fee is the state's charge for maintaining the payment record on a family case.
What is the new $25 annual fee being charged to recipients of child support?
A new federal law requires child support agencies to collect $25.00 once each year from eligible custodians once they receive at least $500 in child support during the year. The year, for collection purposes, follows the federal fiscal year, which is from October 1 to September 30. The initial assessment of this fee will begin on October 1, 2007 and will be done yearly.
When should I contact the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund (WI SCTF) regarding payments?
In the State of Wisconsin, payments are processed by the Wisconsin Support Collection Trust Fund (WI SCTF). If you know your personal identification number (PIN), you can access information about the last two payments you made or received by calling 800-991-5530, or by logging onto the state website: Wisconsin Child Support Payments