Stillings & Buchinger, LLC
ENFORCING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER
Withholding child support payments from the paying
parents paycheck regained with virtually every situation. Child support payments may be withheld from Unemployment
Insurance, Workers Compensation benefits, and other forms of income. In
most cases, support cannot be withheld from veterans benefits. Health insurance premiums and medical exspenses can also be included in an income withholding
Child support agencies release credit information to arrearage bureaus.
If a person is in arrears on child support payments, that information
is submitted to a credit reporting agency, which may affect the obligated
parents credit rating and prevent them from obtaining credit, a
loan for a vehicle, or a mortgage.
Tax intercept programs - Withholding Support
The Bureau of Child Support informs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
and the state Department of Revenue (DOR) of arrearages. The IRS and DOR
then withhold that amount from the obligated parents refund.
People who are married to parents with child support arrearages owed
to another person may file a special relief form called an innocent
spouse claim to avoid his or her refund from being confiscated by
the taxing authority.
When the amount of arrears is equal to or more than one full month of
support, Wisconsin law requires child support agencies to charge interest
(12% per year) on the unpaid amount. Interest on child support arrearages
is paid to the parent owed support when the funds are collected.
Court actions for not paying child support
When a parent owing support falls behind in payments, the child support
collection agency may refer the account for court intervention. Courts
may find the delinquent person in contempt of court, or prosecute him
or her for criminal non-support or felony non-support. In cases where
the court pursues a contempt action, the court usually orders the delinquent payor to jail,
but also set a purge condition that requires that a certain amount
of money be paid or action be taken to avoid jail.
Criminal nonsupport is a crime prosecuted by the county district attorney
or by the tribal court. Child support agencies may refer cases to the
district attorney or tribal court. A custodial parent may file a complaint
directly with the district attorneys office or tribal court. The
district attorneys office or the tribal court decides whether to
take the case, usually after talking with the child support office.
Liens, seizure of property, and license suspension
Since October 2000, child support agencies have additional ways to collect
child support. They may suspend the license of or seize property held
in the obligated parents name. Additionally, when the obligated
parents arrearages reach a certain level, his or her name is automatically
placed on the Lien Docket, a lien is placed on any property
and the child support debt is reported to the credit bureaus. Obligated
parents placed on the lien docket may have other actions taken against
them by the child support agency, such as bank account seizures. Parents
owed arrearages may request notification of any of these actions.
When the parent obligated to pay child support resides in another state,
Wisconsins child support collection agency will send a copy of the
child support order to the other states child support collection
agency and ask for enforcement of that order or for a new order. Any fees
charged by the out-of-state agency are assessed against the obligated
parent. If an order exists and all parties move out of the state, Wisconsin
loses jurisdiction, but may through interstate enforcement laws, have
the previous court order enforced.
Federal enforcement actions
When a payer does not pay his or her child support, that payer cannot
receive certain services from the federal government, such as: food stamps,
some college grants, passports, and small business loans.
Child support agencies will enforce orders to repay specified amounts,
such as "$20 each month. The child support agency will not
enforce medical support orders for unspecified amounts, such as an order
to pay "half of all uninsured medical expenses."
Failure to pay
If a parent fails or refuses to follow the court's order for child support
payments, she or he may be found in contempt of court, arrested, held
over in, or sentenced to jail. Wisconsin is a leader among the states
for the collection of child support. Wisconsin's Department of Workforce
Development has established a system under which an obligator's driver's
license may be suspended, revoked, denied, or non-renewed if the obligator
has refused to make court ordered child support payments. Wisconsin's
child support enforcement relies upon KIDS, a very sophisticated networked
computer system that is able to track income, addresses, driver's license,
and other information across the United States. KIDS helps custodial parents
receive support through income withholding orders garnishing the liable
parent's wages, income tax returns, and other assets.
Obligated parents who fail to pay subject themselves to possible legal
action, including but not limited to: jail sentencing, jail time, and
show cause hearings. Show Cause hearings are hearings held
so that the obligated parent may show the court his or her just cause
for not paying. If the court accepts the reason, the obligated parent
is usually free to go; however, if the court does not accept the reason,
the court may demand partial or full payment, sentence the obligated parent
to jail, or require a bond, which is then sent to the payment due arrearages.
missing child support payors
If your court order requires the child support obligator to notify the
child support collection agency of any change in name, address, or employment
and the obligator fails to do so, he or she is in contempt of the court's
orders. Legislative actions, uniform state and federal laws, and special
allocations to fund massive intrastate computer networks have assisted
in tracking obligators and their income.