Once a child support order has been established, in Wisconsin, it can only be changed or modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. How do you modify or change child support in Wisconsin? If you can prove there has been a substantial change, then you must file a motion and schedule a hearing before the family court commissioner or the judge. You can also file a Stipulation with the court if you and the other parent can reach an agreement. All of these forms are available here: Wisconsin Family Law Forms.
What does a substantial change in circumstances mean when addressing child support? That is often up to the court but some common examples are:
1. A substantial change in the income of either party. The definition of “substantial” is often based on the facts of the situation but usually this requires a change in gross income of at least $5,000 per year or more. Keep in mind this is relative, however. If a $5,000 change in gross income only results in a $50 per month change in child support, that would generally not be considered to be substantial.
2. The Wisconsin statutes provide that if at least 33 months has passed since the last child support order, a substantial change in circumstances is presumed to have occurred.
3. A child “ages out” by reaching the age of 18 or graduates from high school.
4. A change in the placement schedule.
5. A move by one party or the other resulting in additional transportation costs.
6. A substantial change in the needs of either parent or the child. For example, if a child develops special needs, incurs unusual costs or if a parent becomes disabled.
If any of these changes apply to your situation or you believe you may have grounds to modify or change your child support order, you should seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney to determine exactly what your options are and what the likely results will be if you file a request to change your child support order.
The experienced attorneys at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC offer free initial office consultations and we frequently deal with this kind of situation. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our attorneys, please contact us at 414-258-1644.