Wisconsin Child Support Collections and Fees
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Because an employer is responsible for enforcing child support garnishment on an employee, Wisconsin wage garnishment law usually allows the employer to charge a fee for this service. The ability to charge a fee depends on what type of payment is being made, and where. Along with the responsibility of enforcing child support collections comes the obligation on the employer to notify the Wisconsin office of child support upon the employee’s termination of employment. Failing to report this information, or failing to abide by any other rule, can mean heavy fines and penalties for the employer in Wisconsin.
Income Subject to Withholding for Child Support Garnishment
A noncustodial parent that has been assigned a support order should consider almost any form of his or her income to be subject to garnishment. For purposes of child support garnishment, Wisconsin considers all income sources, including wages, salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, pension payments, veterans’ benefits, any undistributed income of a corporation that the employee has access to, and any voluntary payments made by the employee to an employee benefit, profit sharing, or pension plan.
Bonuses and Other Lump Sum Payments
Since Wisconsin’s income withholding statute is silent on lump-sum payments, employers in Wisconsin are not required to report lump-sum payments due to an employee subject to a support order.
Termination of Employment
When an employee subject to a support order ends their employment, the employer must notify the agency within ten days of termination. The employer should send a completed copy of the order, along with the company name, employee’s name and address, the date of termination, and the new employer, if known. If the employee retires, the employer should follow this same process, while providing the name and address of the pension plan administrator.
The employer may charge the employee up to $3 for each payment for support remitted, as well as each R&D payment remitted. If the employer receives more than one support order for an employee, they may charge this fee for each payment to each support order. Further, if the employee earns a commission in addition to wages, the employer may charge separate fees for withholding from each of these sources of income. This fee must come out of the employee’s wages, and under no circumstances may the total fee and support payment exceed the maximum withholding limits.
The employer may also withhold a fee when they are required to send an insurance payment premium to the Wisconsin Support Collections Trust Fund. However, if the order requires that the employer remit this payment to the health care provider, plan, or insurer, they may not charge a fee.
Penalty for Noncompliance
If the employer fails to notify the issuing agency about an employee’s termination of work within ten days of the date of termination, the employer may be held in contempt of court. Further, if the employer fails to remit or withhold payment, the employer will be charged $40, or 1% of the payment, whichever is greater.
Wisconsin State Office of Child Support – Contact Information
Bureau of Child Support
P.O. Box 7935
Madison, WI 53707-7935
Phone: (608) 266-9909
Fax: (608) 267-2824