Support Arrears & Enforcement

Divorce Attorneys Serving Residents of Milwaukee

The process of divorce and determining child custody can be long and grueling. For many parents, reaching a final agreement on how to divide property, finances, and parenting time can be the culmination of years of effort and legal disputes. For others, however, the fight to obtain the child support to which they are entitled has only just begun. At Reddin & Singer, we are skilled in helping parents and former spouses obtain the support they deserve. Our divorce lawyers have helped numerous Milwaukee residents fight to receive the financial assistance that they are owed under the law.

Enforcing Child Support and Preventing Arrears

In Wisconsin, a parent who is not receiving the child support payments to which he or she is entitled under a court order may file an enforcement action. This asks the judge to hold the nonpaying parent accountable for his or her failure to pay and to require him or her to make timely payments. The judge will evaluate the evidence pertaining to the failure to pay child support and may take several types of actions against the delinquent parent.

If a judge finds that a parent is acting in violation of a court order by refusing or failing to pay required child support, the judge may hold the parent in contempt of court. This typically involves ordering the parent to serve jail time unless a certain amount of money is paid towards the outstanding child support arrears. In extreme circumstances, a District Attorney may even choose to prosecute a parent for criminal non-support, which can carry extensive jail time and fines.

Collecting Overdue Support

Even in circumstances when a prosecutor declines to criminally prosecute the delinquent parent, when child support is not being paid in a timely manner a parent may obtain assistance from the Wisconsin Child Support Program, which is charged with helping parents to collect the child support they are due. Both the courts and the Child Support Program have a wide range of options available to ensure that child support payments are obtained. These include:

  • Withholding income from a parent’s paycheck, unemployment insurance, or worker’s compensation benefits;
  • Releasing information that the parent has failed to pay child support to credit bureaus in order to affect credit scores;
  • Coordinating with the Internal Revenue Service to have overdue payments withheld from tax refunds;
  • Suspending a driver’s license;
  • Seizing property or having a lien placed on property;
  • Preventing the nonpaying parent from obtaining access to federal benefits, such as food stamps or small business loans; or
  • Seizing bank accounts or retirement accounts.

Additionally, if the amount of overdue child support is equal to or more than one month of child support payments, Wisconsin requires that interest be charged on the overdue amounts at a rate of 12 percent. This interest charge is added to the overall amount collected from the nonpaying parent.

Discuss Your Child Support Situation with a Milwaukee Lawyer

If you are being denied the child support payments that you should be receiving because your former spouse or the parent of your child refuses to pay, you need the guidance of a qualified child support attorney. Enforcing child support orders can be a complicated process, and many non-paying parents will go to great lengths to avoid paying off their arrears. At Reddin & Singer, our child support attorneys have over two decades of experience helping parents in the Milwaukee area fight for their rights. Terese Singer understands how to work with Wisconsin’s Child Support Program to obtain overdue payments, and she can also advocate for effective civil or criminal action to be taken against the non-paying parent. If you need help with child support enforcement or have questions, please contact us at (414) 271-6400 or use our online form.