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In Wisconsin, an award of child support is subject to modification if future circumstances warrant revision. Johnson v. Johnson, 78 Wis.2d 137, 143-44, 254 N.W.2d 198 (1977). Wisconsin Stat. § 767.32 governs the analysis employed when deciding a motion to modify child support. Specifically, the statute states that a revision, of a judgment or order with respect to an amount of child or family support may be made only upon a finding of a substantial change of circumstances.
Although child support enforcement is primarily left up to state enforcement, a non-payment of child support may also become a federal criminal offense under certain conditions. Using the commerce clause as its base of authority, Congress enacted the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 (CSRA), Pub. L. No. 102-521, making a willful failure to pay a past due support obligation, with respect to a child residing in another state, a federal offense. 18 U.S.C. § 228 The intent of the statute was to prevent non-custodial parents from fleeing across state lines to avoid paying their child support obligations and to facilitate recovery of unpaid child support.
Unless and until a person is established legally as the biological father of a child, he has few rights. He cannot enforce a parenting schedule, make legal decisions related to the child’s upbringing. A paternity proceeding may be brought at any time after the birth of a child. Under Wisconsin law, there are several ways that paternity may be legally established.
Wisconsin, like states across the America, has complied with federal requests to adopt uniform guidelines for determining child support. Although the laws in neighboring states may be similar, no two states have identical laws.
Whenever a Wisconsin court enters a judgment for divorce or legal separation, or issues a custody/placement order in some other action affecting the family, it must make a determination about child support.
Under Wisconsin law, each parent has a duty to provide financial support for his or her minor children. Child support is based on the Wisconsin Child Support Formula. The Wisconsin divorce court considers the gross monthly income of both parents, special medical or educational needs of the child, the cost of health insurance, the cost of day care and the cost of providing support to others (such as parents or minor children who are not the product of the marriage).
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