Revising old child support orders: The Wisconsin experience
In an effort to make Wisconsin's child support cases more equitable and up-to-date, child support staff reviewed "old" child support orders in thirteen of the state's seventy-two counties. (Reviewing old child support orders is now mandatory under the provisions of the Family Support Act of 1988.) Of the reviewed cases, only 21 percent were revised. Primary reasons for non-revision were the economic circumstances of the noncustodial parent (among welfare cases) and a lack of permission by the custodial parent to proceed (among non-welfare cases). Revised orders increased substantially, an average of $116/month (77 percent). An alternative method of keeping orders current is to express them as a percentage of the noncustodial parent's income; these orders are kept up-to-date automatically and are associated with large increases in collections.
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