Frequently Asked Questions
The Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program accepts new applications for services and is actively transferring cases from State of Wisconsin County Child Support Agencies in which a Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Member or which an Individual is eligible for Membership of the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe is a party to the child support case. Cases transfer jurisdiction from a State of Wisconsin County Child Support Agency to the Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program through a series of prescribed procedures, law and timelines. Below, you will find information that relates to a County to Tribe child support case transfer.
Q: Will my Child Support Order change when it transfers from the County CSA to the Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program?
A: Yes and No. The monetary portion of your child support order will not change. For example, if an individual was ordered to pay $500.00 per month in child support by the County Circuit Court, that amount will remain in effect upon transfer to the Tribal Court and Tribal Child Support Program. Only a Court Order can change the amount you are ordered to pay or receive in child support. Upon transfer to the Tribe, your case may be reviewed. If a formal review is to be completed, you will be contacted by your Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program Child Support Specialist. As with a County Child Support Agency, a party can choose to request a review of your case at any time there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Some specifics of your order may change upon transfer to the Tribe such as the number of work searches required each week/month, where payments should be made, interest on unpaid support, etc. Additionally, enforcement measures vary greatly between State of WI County Child Support Agencies and the Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program. You should contact the County Child Support Agency and the Lac Courte Oreilles Child Support Program if you have questions on case transfers.
Q: When my Child Support case transfers to the Tribe, will I start receiving Non-Cash Support in lieu of cash support?
A: No. A misconception we have heard from the community is when your case transfers to the Tribe that you will start receiving fire wood, fish, or other goods and services in lieu of cash support. That is NOT true. If you are or should be expecting to receive cash child support based upon your order that transfers, then that is what our program will enforce. Non-Cash Support is a unique option to tribal child support cases. This option can only be used for Current Support.
Non- Cash Support can only be used if it is agreed upon by both parties; there has to be a dollar amount assigned; and the order for Non-Cash Support must be approved and signed by the Tribal Court Judge.
Q: The other party or myself have family members or close friends that either work at the LCO Tribal Office or in the Child Support Office. Is this a conflict of interest?
A: No. Like most State and County Child Support Agencies, staff may have family members within office case loads. Staff members are prohibited from working child support cases where they may have a personal interest. Personal interest may include, but not limited to, cases involving family members or close friends. To address the concerns of family members or close friends within the Tribal Office please refer to next question.
Q: Is my case confidential?
A: Child Support Program Staff are bound by the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governmental Personnel Policy, the LCO Child Support Program Policy, Federal Guidelines and IRS Safeguarding. Staff of the Child Support Program undergo annual IRS Safeguarding and Disclosure Training. Child Support disclosures to case participants or to other individuals for any purpose related to the administration of the program are permitted under Wis. Stat. 49.83, unless such disclosure is specifically prohibited by state or federal law, or privacy protection restrictions. For example, information disclosed while conducting a child support investigation, locating a parent, establishing paternity, communication with employers, or requesting information from other persons under Wis. Stat. 49.22(2m)(a), as necessary for child support purposes, would constitute authorized disclosures. Disclosures to participants, as necessary to explain distribution of child support funds or the legal basis for assignment of support, may be appropriate as long as the disclosure is limited to providing the information necessary for child support program administration and such disclosure is not otherwise prohibited by privacy protection, or other state or federal law. Designated agencies that may require communication in order to run effective programing based on their rules, laws and regulations are Title IV-A (TANF), Title IV-E (Foster Care, Kinship Care), Title IV-B (Child protective services), Title XIX (Medicaid), Title XXI (SCHIP/certain BadgerCare) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/ formerly Food Stamps (SNAP).
Q: My case has been with the county for so long, why is it transferring now?
A: Since going comprehensive November 30, 2012. the LCO Child Support Program has begun to transfer eligible cases from Sawyer County Child Support Agency. First and foremost, it is an exercise and affirmation of the Tribe’s sovereignty to manage child support cases involving its Members.
Even though Wisconsin has concurrent adjudicatory jurisdiction under Public Law 280, there are still many reasons why a Tribe would want to handle its members’ and residents’ child support cases. First, it will be more practical and convenient for reservation residents to be able to access a tribal child support office. Second, child support deals with families. Tribal families are often culturally unique. A tribal child support agency will have a better understanding of cultural issues that may be associated with paternity and child support.
Q: Will I receive payments on my Wisconsin State Child Support Debit Card?
A: No. LCO Child Support Program does not use the Wisconsin KIDS system State Disbursement Unit (SDU). All collections will be paid through our agency and distributed with a smiONE Tribal Debit Card. We advise that you keep your WI State debit card for at least 2 months after your case transfers to allow for any money that may be collected through the state to still be deposited to your card.
Q: How will I receive child support payments?
A: The LCO Child Support Program is now providing an easier and safer way to receive and manage your child support payments. The checks our program participants were previously receiving will now be replaced by the smiONE Tribal Debit Card. Starting June 13th 2016 all custodial parties with an open child support cases with the LCO Child Support Program had been mailed their smiONE Tribal Debit Card to the most current mailing address on file.
The smiONE Tribal Debit Card eliminates the possibility of lost or stolen checks, costly check cashing fees, postal service delays, and can be used anywhere VISA is accepted. It also provides easy access to your child support payments. When you receive your card follow all directions provided to activate your new smiONE Tribal Debit Card. Please visit their website to see all available options. www.smionecard.com
Q: How is legal paternity established?
A: If a woman is married when she becomes pregnant or at the time of the child’s birth, her husband is considered, by law, the legal father of the child. If a woman is not married at the time of the child’s conception or birth, paternity needs to be established after the child is born.
Q: Why is paternity establishment important?
A: Your child has the right to a sense of belonging that comes from knowing both parents. This includes having the father’s name on the birth certificate and establishing a tie to extended family and the Tribal community.
Q: Who is responsible to financially care for a child?
A: Both parents are legally responsible to financially support their children and morally responsible to emotionally support them. Children who are supported by both parents often face fewer challenges in life.
Q: Who can receive child support?
You may be eligible for child support services if you are the parent of a minor child or have physical placement of a minor child.
Q: What does a child support order include?
A: An order for child support may include provisions for:
- A monetary amount to be paid to the custodial party;
- Medical, dental and vision care coverage for the child;
- Other provisions specific to the child’s needs.