All parents have a responsibility to financially support their children. Wisconsin's child support program helps ensure that children receive the financial support they need.
To obtain the services of the Jefferson County Child Support Agency, you must complete an application for services unless you have received public assistance. Public assistance can include BadgerCare, Medical Assistance, and participation in the W-2 program.
If you are not married to the father of your child, the Agency can help you legally determine the identity of the child's father. This process is called "establishing paternity." Establishing paternity guarantees a child's right to receive financial support, medical support, and inheritances from the father. The length of time it takes to obtain a judgment of paternity depends on what steps will be necessary to complete the process. If a man admits paternity and signs papers declaring himself to be the father, then the process is very fast. Frequently, however, it is recommended that genetic testing be done to confirm that a man is the father of a child; this can take a month or so to schedule and receive the results. A way to legally establish paternity that does not require the services of the Child Support Agency is for both parents to complete a "Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement" form. However, filling out this form does not establish a child support order in and of itself. For more information about this form, you may call any local hospital, the Register of Deeds office, or the Child Support Agency.
A child support order can not be obtained without either
- a judgment of paternity
- genetic testing which establishes a 99% or greater likelihood of paternity
- a filed Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and subsequent motion to the court for child support.
Finding absent parents
The Agency can try to find absent parents by using the State Parent Locator Service if you provide the parents name and social security number. If the absent parent has moved to another state, the Agency can ask the other state to find him/her. The Agency can also search throughout the United States for the absent parent by using the Federal Parent Locator Service.
A court hearing cannot be held to establish or enforce support unless the absent parent has been properly served with a notice of the hearing.
Establishing child support orders
The Agency can assist in obtaining a child support order against a parent who is not living with and directly supporting his or her child. This can be in a situation where parents are married but separated and not pursuing a divorce, or a situation where paternity was established and no support order made (because the parents were living together at the time), or in a situation where a child is temporarily placed in foster care or an alternate care placement.
The Agency will investigate how much the other parent earns and determine how much child support would be under the percentage standards. The Agency uses the State Percentage Standards (DCF 150) to determine support unless there is a good reason to deviate from them. Then it will first try to get an agreement from the other parent to pay support. If no agreement is reached the Agency will file a motion to establish.
Enforcing child/family medical support obligations
The Agency has a number of tools to enforce court orders for child support or medical support.
Services we Provide:
- Interception of payers income tax refunds (additional fee charged for this)
- Liens against real and personal property
- Denial or suspension of recreational, occupational or drivers license
- Civil court charges of contempt
- Criminal court charges of felony nonsupport
- Passport denial
- Automatic income withholding
- Automatic National Medical Support Notice
- Financial account seizure
- Credit Bureau reporting
- Financial record matching program
Services We Do Not Provide:
- The handling of divorces
- The handling of custody or visitation issues
- The obtaining or enforcing of restraining orders
- Establishing or enforcing spousal support orders
Reviewing child/family support obligations
The Agency provides administrative reviews of TANF cases every three years. For all other cases the Agency provides review and adjust services using a pro se approach. As part of the pro se approach, the Agency provides forms and instructions to have the support order reviewed by the Court. Pro-se (do it yourself) motion packets are also available at the Clerk of Courts Office (Jefferson County Courthouse, 311 S Center Ave., Room 115, Jefferson, WI 53549 phone number 920-674-7150). As part of the pro se approach, the Agency may also effectuate timely service of process. You may obtain payment information and account balances by calling the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund (Outside Metro Milwaukee 800-991-5530, Metro Milwaukee 414-615-2400, or TDD 877-209-5209.
You may also obtain payment information and account balances by accessing the Wisconsin Child Support website at: childsupport.wisconsin.gov. You may review and obtain a copy of the last order addressing child support at the Jefferson County Clerk of Courts Office at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 320 S. Main Street, Room 115, Jefferson, WI 53549.
Cooperation with the Agency
If you receive public assistance, the receipt of your benefits may be conditioned upon your cooperation with the Agency in its efforts to establish and enforce a child support order against the other parent (if the other parent is not living with the child). Cooperation means providing any information about the payer that you know or could reasonably find out, including address, employer, place of birth, physical description, and any other income information. It also means filling out forms immediately, keeping appointments, and informing us of any court hearing you have scheduled. If, however, you believe that cooperation with the Agency could result in harm to yourself or your child, or if your child was conceived as a result of incest or rape, you may not need to cooperate with the Agency if you fill out a "Good Cause Claim. " You may obtain a "Good Cause Claim" application from the Agency.
Obtaining an attorney
Many people have private attorneys during the course of a, legal action (such as divorce, paternity, or contempt). You may have the Agency's collection services and a private attorney's legal representation at the same time. The Agency has attorneys. However, these attorneys represent the State of Wisconsin and not any individual in an action. Unlike a private attorney you retain, the agency attorneys are not required to keep information you tell them confidential. They are also not bound to take a position that is favorable to you. Their job is to obtain the most fair child support orders possible and to enforce child support orders.
The information contained in the files of the Agency are not open to the public. Certain information may be shared with others only for the purpose(s) of the administration of the child support program and other related programs (Sec. 49.83, Stats.).
If a person has a concern that he or she may be harmed if certain information is released, the person should inform an Agency employee. If appropriate, steps may be taken to protect certain information from being released at all.
Automatic withholding from paychecks
Most child support payments will be automatically withheld from an employees paycheck, provided the Child Support Agency has been informed of the payer's employer. However, all payers are ultimately responsible for making sure that payments are made. Payers are instructed to check their paycheck stubs to make sure that the appropriate amounts of money were withheld. If the entire amount of child support due was not withheld, it is the payers responsibility to send in the difference to the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund ("WI SCTF").
If you wish to make a child support payment on your own (either because you are self employed, or the employer did not withhold enough, or you wish to make an additional payment), you may send the payment to:
Milwaukee, WI 53274-0200
Each check must be accompanied by the following minimum information:
Name and either
KIDS PIN number
Social Security number, or Court Case Number.
It is preferable to send in payments with a payment voucher (which you should receive in the mail). You may contact the Child Support Agency for assistance in filling out the payment voucher appropriately.
To receive information about payments received on your case, or account balances, you may contact the KIDS Information Line at 800-991-5530. You may also obtain payment information and account balances by accessing the Wisconsin Child Support website at: childsupport.wisconsin.gov
Change of Address
All parties must notify the Child Support Agency and the Clerk of Courts of any change of address within ten days. Parties are presumed to have complied with this statutory requirement. Failure to do so may result in your missing important legal documents that may affect your rights. For a child support recipient, it may also mean that you do not receive child support. For a child support payer, it may also result in a judge issuing a civil warrant for your arrest if you can not be found otherwise. Parties may also report address changes online at childsupport.wisconsin.gov
Change of Employer
All child support payers are required by statute to notify the Child Support Office and the payee within ten business days of any change of employer and/or of any substantial change in the amount of his or her income.
Equal Opportunity Service Provider
The Jefferson County Child Support Agency is an equal opportunity service provider. If you need assistance to access services or materials in an alternate format, please contact the Agency at 414-615-2587 or the DES Equal Opportunity Office at 608-267-0927 (Voice and TDD).
If you have any other specific questions about the services of the agency or details about your case, you may either write the Agency (Jefferson County Courthouse, 311 Center Ave., Room 219, Jefferson, WI 53549, call the Agency 414-615-2587, fax the Agency 920-674-7435, email the Agency, or come to the office in person.