Can Child Support Be Ordered Without A Petition?

divorce lawyer Kirsten ReneauQuestion:

Can a judge order child support when neither party petitioned the court for child support, and the only petition filed was concerning visitation?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Wisconsin divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Where I practice, the state may initiate a child support action even if neither parent petitions the court for a support order. This usually occurs when the custodial parent (the parent who has placement of the child) receives public benefits on behalf of that child.

In terms of public policy, the state seeks to be “reimbursed” from the noncustodial parent for the expenses associated with providing support for the child. An attorney for the child support agency in the county where the child resides may petition the court to make orders for child support.

Even if both parents have an agreement to “hold open” child support, meaning to ask that the court not order child support right now, it is up to the court’s discretion whether to order support based on the state’s child support guidelines.

Child Support Calculators:

How Much Should You Be Paying?

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Madison Divorce Attorney Kirsten K. Reneau, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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