By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know someone who has withheld child support from an ex in the past – maybe the ex wouldn’t let your friend see his or her kids, or perhaps the payer didn’t feel like the recipient was doing the right thing with the money – but is it ever okay (or even legal) to withhold child support in the state of Wisconsin? Here’s what you need to know.

When is it Okay to Withhold Child Support in Wisconsin?

The absolute only time it’s okay to withhold child support in Wisconsin is when you have a court order stating that you don’t have to pay it. If you fail to pay, you will face serious legal consequences.

The Penalties for Withholding Child Support in Wisconsin

If you withhold child support despite having a court order that says you’re supposed to pay it, the child support agency can ask the court to hold a contempt hearing. During your contempt hearing, the court will determine whether you could have paid child support but chose not to. If the judge in your case finds you guilty of being able to pay but refusing, he or she can hold you in contempt of court. That means you’re guilty of the crime of failing to follow a court order – and you could go to jail over it.

However, the judge doesn’t have to send you to jail; he or she may set “purge conditions,” which are conditions you can meet to avoid going to jail. Usually, in cases like these, the purge conditions involve paying an amount of money toward your past-due child support amount.

Your child’s other parent – the one who is supposed to receive child support – may decide to file a complaint with the district attorney. (The child support agency may also refer case to the district attorney.) The district attorney will decide whether or not to take the case, and you could be charged with the crime of criminal nonsupport.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Child Support?

If you’re experiencing issues with child support – either receiving it or paying it – we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your consultation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.

Carlos Gamino