Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

Court Actions

Courts may take action against parents who fail to pay child support. Charges such as contempt of court or criminal nonsupport may be filed. If convicted, the court may fine and/or jail parents for not paying support.

Contempt of Court

The child support agency or the parent who is owed support may file for a contempt hearing. If the court finds that the parent could have paid child support but did not, the court can find the parent who owes support in contempt of court. The court may order a jail sentence, but may also set purge conditions, which the payer can submit to avoid going to jail. Purge conditions are usually an amount of money that can be paid towards the past-due child support amount.

Criminal Nonsupport

Criminal nonsupport is a crime prosecuted by the district attorney or by the tribal court. Child support agencies may refer cases to the district attorney. The parent who is owed child support may file a complaint directly with the district attorney. The district attorney decides whether or not to take the case, usually after talking with the child support agency.