Brazil & Benske, LLC

Reduced income and how it affects child support

Once divorced parents in Wisconsin have determined child support payments, the thought is these amounts will not change until the child becomes an adult. However, there are circumstances in which the paying party has a change in income due to a lower paying job or complete job loss. In these circumstances, a modification by the court may be granted but there are certain steps that the non-custodial parent must make to avoid certain penalties and consequences.

According to FindLaw, it is best if both parents can concur on a modification agreement and have it signed by the judge. Depending on the specific situation, this agreement may be temporary or permanent. If the two parties cannot agree on a modification, the affected party will need to contact the courts and request a formal support modification, and this should be done as quickly as possible.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families states income changes must be reported to the child support agency within 10 days of the circumstance. Current support payments must continue to be paid while the court determines if a modification order should be issued, and this usually only occurs if the income change is expected to last longer than a couple of months. With job loss, up to 50% of unemployment benefits are allowed to be used for child support. Parents who do not make the required payments will be responsible for the missed amounts and may have their future income garnished to cover the payments. The best effort should be made to meet as many of the payments as possible to stay in good standing with the court. 

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