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If your ex refuses to pay child support in Wisconsin there are options for you. The State of Wisconsin will pursue the back child support on your child’s behalf if you notify them of the situation. There are also significant penalties that can be imposed on your ex for their refusal to pay child support including wage garnishment, revocation of certain licenses (including their driver’s license) and charging your ex interest on the back owed child support.

If your ex refuses to pay child support in Wisconsin there are options for you. The State of Wisconsin will pursue the back child support on your child’s behalf if you notify them of the situation. There are also significant penalties that can be imposed on your ex for their refusal to pay child support including wage garnishment, revocation of certain licenses (including their driver’s license) and charging your ex interest on the back owed child support. Read on the find out what can be done if your ex refuses to pay child support in Wisconsin.  

Learn more about recent changes to Wisconsin child support laws in our recent article.

Wisconsin Child Support

Like most states, Wisconsin takes the enforcement of child support orders very seriously. If your ex refuses to pay court-ordered child support there are many options available to you to enforce that court order. Refusal to comply with paying the court-ordered child support is actually considered to be in contempt of the court order. Additionally, federal law demands that action be taken if child support is one month late. Wisconsin typically automatically initiates income withholding but if you have back owed child support the state can help you to collect it.

Wisconsin Child Support Enforcement

Go To Court for Child Support

The first and most obvious option if there is child support not being paid is that you let your attorney know that your ex hasn’t been making court-ordered child support payments. Your attorney can then ask the court for a contempt order, which could mean that your ex will be forced to either hire an attorney to defend them in court and provide an explanation as to why the payments are not being made or be penalized by the court, usually in the form of a monetary penalty but, in extreme cases, could eventually mean jail time.  

You should keep in mind that the court is usually reluctant to send a non-paying parent to jail due to the fact that they will not be earning an income while they are incarcerated. A lawsuit for child support enforcement could also qualify for attorney’s fees and costs being awarded, meaning that your ex will have to reimburse any money you had to spend in order to collect he back child support.  

Note that this does not mean that you do not have to pay your attorney up front for the work they do on your behalf, just that the court may order your ex to pay what it cost you to collect the back child support.  

Income Withholding Order

The state can and will enter an order for income withholding. Income withholding is when the money for child support is just taken out of your ex’s paycheck every month and is an efficient method of making sure the proper amount of support arrives on time. Unfortunately sometimes the state cannot locate the ex or their place of work right away or at all, which can frustrate collection efforts.  

Ask the State for Help

Depending on your individual circumstances and the amount of child support owed, the state will step in and work to collect the back support on behalf of your child.  

Can A Parent Refuse to Pay Child Support?

A parent can attempt to try and refuse paying child support but eventually the state will catch up to that parent. Sometimes a parent who does not want to pay child support will attempt to terminate their parental rights in an effort to avoid being ordered to pay child support but it is highly unlikely that that petition to terminate will be granted. The court believes that a child deserves the support of both parents and, absent extraordinary circumstances, will rule in favor of both parents at least supporting the child financially.  

Possible Penalties for Nonpayment of Court Ordered Child Support

Revocation of Licenses

If more than three months of back child support is owed the state can, and will, deny a driver’s license or license renewal to an individual who owes child support. Additionally, the state will deny any recreational licenses

Interception of State and Federal Tax Returns

f more than $500 in back child support is owed the state and the federal government will take it out of any state or federal income tax refund that the nonpaying parent is owed.  

Interception of Funds

If the nonpaying parent wins a settlement or judgment, the state can step in and take the money to apply the funds to back child support owed.  

Retirement

If more than $1000 in back child support is owed, funds from retirement accounts can be seized.  

Seizure of Land

If the back child support is more than six months overdue, it is possible that a lien could be put on any land or real estate owned by the nonpaying parent.  

Denial of Loan

It is possible that if the nonpaying parent applies for a loan or mortgage backed by a state agency, their application will be denied due to the back owed child support.

Denial of Passport

If over $2,500 in back child support is owed, the federal government will deny a passport renewal if the nonpaying parent applies for one.

Credit Score

The unpaid child support will be reported to the credit bureaus as a debt and the credit score of the nonpaying parent will drop, affecting their ability to get loans and housing.

Jail Time

This is the most severe and least utilized method of attempting to enforce child support payments. While jail time is certainly a method the court can use to enforce an order to pay child support, it is a method of last resort. The issue here is that the court can use it to punish a parent for not paying child support but when that parent is in jail, they are not earning an income to use to pay child support.  

If you are struggling with an ex who refuses to pay child support there are many techniques and strategies available to you to get the money that your child is owed. The first step to take is to consult with an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney who has dealt with the issue of nonpayment of child support with success. Feel free to give us a call at (630)-324-6666, we would be happy to help you.  

Posted 
November 1, 2021
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