Wisconsin Child Support
Services, Enforcement, & Information

The Wisconsin Child Support program will work hard to get the child support your child deserves. Established in 1975 the IV-D program was invented raise the standard of living for children by enforcing their right to receive financial support from both of their parents.

The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from parents who are not in the home.

Wisconsin Child Support


Wisconsin Child Support Services

Child Support is a financial support paid by a parent to help support a child or children of whom they do not have custody. Child support can be entered into voluntarily or ordered by a court or a properly empowered administrative agency, depending on each State's laws.

Legal Fatherhood

Mothers and fathers may ask The Wisconsin Child Support Agency to help establish legal fatherhood. Even if the parents live together, establishing legal fatherhood ensures the child's rights as well as the rights of both parents.

If the parents were not married, legal fatherhood has to be decided before a court will order child support. Child support agencies also offer genetic testing at a reduced cost.If a child was conceived or born when the parents were married, the husband is the legal father.

No further action will be taken by the Wisconsin Child Support program. Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment is the easiest way for an unmarried father to put his name on his baby's birth certificate. The other ways involve the courts.

By signing the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form, both parents are establishing their baby's paternity. Signing this form legally establishes paternity. This means the court may order support for the baby without having a court hearing to prove who the father is.

Support could include paying for medical bills and providing health insurance. Support is owed until the baby becomes an adult. This form does not give the father legal custody (the legal right to make decisions for the baby) or physical placement (visitation).

Under Wisconsin law, the unmarried mother has sole legal custody until a court orders otherwise. If the father and mother cannot agree on custody and placement, the father will need to get a court order.

Both parents will then have to prepare a Parenting Plan. The court will decide what is best for the child. Custody and placement issues can be discussed with your county's or tribe's family court counseling service. Parents should contact their family court commissioner's office for counseling services.

Paternal Interest Registry

In Wisconsin, a parent must be notified before their parental rights are terminated or their child is adopted. However, if the child's father is not married to the mother, or has not acknowledged his paternity, or been found to be the father by a court, it may be difficult to locate the father and give notice.

The Wisconsin Paternal Interest Registry is a way for putative (possible) fathers to get notice if their child is involved in a termination of parental rights or adoption.

Court Orders

Only a court can set or change a Wisconsin Child Support order. Wisconsin courts use the guidelines in the Child Support Percentage of Income Standard for setting support amounts.

The standard assumes that both parents share part of their income with their children when they live together, and should do so when they live apart.Either parent or both parents may be ordered to provide medical support for their child. Repaying Birth Costs

When single, separated, and divorced parents apply for the Badger Care Plus program, some of these parents are referred to Child Support program for services.

If the parents are not married when the mother applies for Badger Care Plus and the mother is referred to child support, the court may order the father to repay birth costs. Birth costs include health care costs related to the pregnancy, as well as the birth of the child.

If the family is not referred to the Child Support program, the father will not have to repay birth costs to the Badger Care Plus program.

If the family is referred to the Wisconsin Child Support program, an unmarried father might not have to repay birth costs if:

  • The couple already had an older child together.
  • The couple told the Badger Care Plus agency that the father was living in the home before their new baby was born so that his income was included in the family income when applying for Badger Care Plus.

Child Support & Aid/Benefit Programs

W-2, SSI Caretaker Supplement, & Kinship Care programs If you get any W-2 service (including child care help from the Wisconsin Shares program) or get cash benefits from the SSI Caretaker Supplement or Kinship Care programs:

You will automatically get child support services without having to pay the $25 application fee. However if you get W-2 services but do not get cash benefits, other fees may apply.

You must cooperate with the Wisconsin Child Support program unless you have "Good Cause" not to cooperate.

If you get cash benefits, your child support order will be reviewed every three years.

Badger Care Plus program

If you are in the Badger Care Plus program and are referred to the Child Support program:

You will get full Wisconsin Child Support services and do not have to pay an application fee. Other fees may apply.

You must cooperate with the Child Support program unless you have "Good Cause" not to cooperate.

The father may have to repay the birth costs.

Good Cause

Good Cause is a good reason for not cooperating with the child support program when getting W-2 services, cash benefits, or Badger Care Plus benefits.

Good Cause exists when:

Cooperating with the child support agency might cause physical or emotional harm to you or your child

Your child was conceived as a result of incest or sexual assault

An adoption petition has been filed with the court

You are being helped for three (3) months or less by a social service agency in deciding if your parental rights should end.

If you believe you or your children might be harmed if you cooperate with the child support agency, talk with your aid/benefits case worker, and file a Good Cause claim. The aid/benefits agency will decide whether or not Good Cause exists. Job Loss

By law, you must tell your Wisconsin Child Support agency within 10 days if you lose your job, if your income changes, if you get a new job, or if you change jobs. These changes will not change your court ordered payment amounts. Your court order for support continues after a job loss. (Only a court can change an order.) 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 change. This is not automatic. If child support payments were taken out of your paycheck, child support payments will now be withheld from your Unemployment Insurance checks.

Wisconsin Child Support Customer Service

Department of Children and Families

201 East Washington Avenue, Second Floor 

P.O. Box 8916 

Madison, WI 53708-8916 

Telephone: 608-267-3905 

Fax: 608-266-6836


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