“WHEREAS, the Forest County Potawatomi Community recognizes that its children are the Community’s future and that parents have the moral and legal obligation to provide for the health, welfare and safety of their children, AND
WHEREAS, the support of children and their care and safety is an important element of Potawatomi culture, tradition and custom, and that the care, teachings and comfort of Potawatomi children is an important part of our heritage, culture and tradition, AND
WHEREAS, the General Council finds that it in the best interests of the Community to adopt an Ordinance containing procedures for enforcing a parent’s moral and legal obligation to support his or her children”. Resolution GC009-2000 adopted on August 12, 2000.
On July 1, 2003 the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe became the 9th Tribe in the country to receive direct federal funding to operate a full service child support agency (FCPC-TCSA) under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. At the time of operations there were 2 fulltime employees, which over time, has grown to 7 fulltime employees serving over 1500 individuals, and over 500 cases at any given time. In 2014 FCPC-TCSA collected over 3.1 million dollars for child support purposes and has established paternity over the years for hundreds of minor children.
Although the Forest County Potawatomi Child Support Ordinance has not been modified since 2003, the federal and state laws have with respect to child support guidelines and transfer of cases to tribal jurisdictions. This generally impacts child support guidelines, which the Tribe has adopted via the Ordinance, and the transfer of cases to the Tribal Court.
WHAT IS THE JURISDICTION OF THE TRIBAL COURT?
Section 2.1 of the Potawatomi Child Support Ordinance states that the tribal court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a resident individual or the individual’s guardian or conservator. The law goes on to further exert jurisdiction over nonresidents if any of the following applies:
A. The individual is personally served with a summons or other notice within the Reservation;
B. The individual submits to the jurisdiction of the Tribal Court, by consent, by entering a general appearance or by filing a responsive document having the effect of waiving any contest to personal jurisdiction;
C. The individual resided with the child on the Reservation;
D. The individual resided on the Reservation and provided prenatal expenses or support for the child;
E. The child resides on the Reservation as a result of the acts or directives of the individual;
F. The individual engaged in sexual intercourse on the Reservation, and the child may have been conceived as a result by that act of intercourse; or
G. The individual asserted parentage in a declaration of paternal interest filed with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services under .48.025, or in a statement acknowledging paternity filed with the State Registrar under .69.15(3)(b) 1 or 3.
SERVICES WE PROVIDE:
- Paternity establishment for children under the age of 18 years old;
- Child support establishment
- Modification of child support
- Child support enforcement
- Location of parents and their assets
TRANSFER OF CASES FROM STATE COURT TO TRIBAL COURT:
The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe and the State of WI has a Memorandum of Understanding for the transfer of child support (non-marital cases) and paternity cases when one or more persons involved in the case is an enrolled Forest County Potawatomi tribal member. The MOU requires both the Tribe and the county to provide proper notice of the transfer and allows parties ten business days to request a hearing in the county court to object to the transfer. If no one objects within that time period, or the county court issues an order to transfer after such a hearing, the entire case will be sent to FCPC-TCSA for all enforcement and modifications of child support. FCPC-TCSA is pleased to report an order enforcement rate of 96% in 2014, among the highest in the country.
Other conditions typically in a non-marital child support or paternity case will also transfer to the Tribe. This includes issues such as tax deductions, custody and placement issues. FCPC-TCSA is not authorized under Title IV-D to assist in many of these actions. Parties may contact the Tribal Court to request a motion form to file pro se (without legal representation) or may retain a legal representative to assist them in this type of action. Parties should contact the Clerk of Tribal Court at 715-478-7255 to get a listing of all individuals who are licensed to practice in Forest County Potawatomi Tribal Court.
CAN MY PER CAPITA BE INTERCEPTED FOR CHILD SUPPORT?
Yes, under Forest County Potawatomi Ordnances your per capita can be intercepted for child support purposes. We may also intercept fees owed to the Tribe via per capita, state tax offset or garnish wages or other sources of income.
Employers must honor all income withholding notices sent to them by FCPC-TCSA as a IV-D agency or be subject to sanctions and may be held liable for any child support not withheld. Employers are not allowed under law to discharge a non-custodial parent based solely in the issuance of an income withholding notice.
HOW DO I RECEIVE MY CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS FROM FCPC-TCSA?
In 2008 FCPC-TCSA was named as the Tribe to manage the piloting of a child support management system known as the Model Tribal System that was released from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. In 2012 FCPC-TCSA became the first Tribe to finish the pilot testing and receive direct federal funding for the continued operation and support of the MTS.
Not only does the MTS manage day-to-day case activities, such as case notes and data on participants and cases, but also processes payments. FCPC-TCSA offers either payment via check or direct deposit. Should a custodial party wish to receive the benefit of our direct deposit services they should call our main line at 715-478-7260 or stop in the office to fill out the form. Please bring a voided check or deposit slip with you to begin this service.
Please be advised that we are not authorized to release any payments early!
I AM NOT A TRIBAL MEMBER BUT AN EMPLOYEE. CAN YOU ASSIST ME WITH MY CHILD SUPPORT CASE?:
Although we are not authorized to modify your order unless allowed to by the initiating jurisdiction, FCPC-TCSA has received a special grant that allows us to work directly with employees to ensure orders are enforced in a timely manner to avoid arrears and to help modify orders should circumstances have changed for the employee. We encourage you to visit our menu item entitled the Employee Assistance Program on this site for more information or call 715-478-7260.
SAFEGUARDING OF DATA:
Under Title IV-D, child support agencies must maintain strict safeguarding standards in order to maintain funding. Thus, your data is safe within FCPC-TCSA. As general rule, information such as dates of birth, addresses and social security numbers are not shared with anyone but the party himself or herself or agencies such as the Tribal Court, TANF and Kinship Care.
GENERAL OFFICE HOURS:
FCPC-TCSA’s general office hours are Monday – Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors are welcome at any time, however, if you would like to visit a specific employee please call 715-478-7260 to make an appointment to allow adequate meeting time for your needs.