University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Child Support Enforcement Tools and Their Relationship to Payments: A Review of County Policy and Practice

This is one of two reports completed as part of the research agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Bureau of Child Support and researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin–Madison, examining child support enforcement practices in Wisconsin. Child support agencies in Wisconsin have some discretion in the selection, sequencing, and timing of enforcement tools when noncustodial parents get behind on child support payments. Drawing on interviews with five child support agencies across the state, this report seeks to understand the processes child support agencies undertake to determine when enforcement is appropriate, which tools to use given a case’s circumstances, and the order in which to use them. Overall, this research finds that while child support agencies have similar enforcement tools available as options, practices for selecting, sequencing, and implementing these tools vary across counties, and sometimes within counties. County context factors, such as agency structure, county size, availability of supportive services within the county, and relationships with local courts, contribute to this variation. We identify factors contributing to practice decisions and areas in which additional guidance or supports might be helpful to counties.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Enforcement, Orders & Payments


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