– from Kathleen V. in Pewaukee, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I split when our son was a teenager. He made payments up until around the time our son was sixteen. Then the payments stopped. Our son is now 18. Can I still take his father to court for contempt because of his failure to pay? Or is it too late because our son is no longer a minor?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Every case is unique, but yes, I do believe you can still take the father to court.

The law states that just because your son has reached majority, a support order is not exempt from being enforced. Contempt is justified because it is not in the past, it is an ongoing issue. This is also demonstrated in the case of Griffin v. Reeve 141 Wis. 2d 699, 416 N.W.2d 612 (1987). In this case, the mother brought a contempt case against her ex for failure to pay support. Their child had also reached the age of majority. The circuit court dismissed the case, but the supreme court granted a petition to bypass the court of appeals and reversed the circuit court's decision.

My advice is to contact a lawyer and discuss the details of your case immediately.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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