Can failure to pay child support be a felony in Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Larry J. in River Hills, WI

Question Details:

When my wife and I divorced, she was awarded custody and I was ordered to pay child support. During the divorce, I was laid off from my job and unable to gain employment. The divorce really devastated me, and I have been out of work for three years. I went to court a while back to show cause, and I was ordered to get a job and to begin paying arrearages. This has been nearly a year ago, and I have yet to find a job. I went to court again, and the court stated a felony has been committed and set a date for trial. Can I be convicted of a felony just for failure to pay?

Family Law Attorney Response:

If the court has stated a belief that a felony has been committed, then it is a possibility you could be convicted of a felony.

This was demonstrated by the courts in the case of State v. Duprey 149 Wis. 2d 655, 439 N.W.2d 837 (Ct. App. 1989). The court accepted the father’s motion that the felony be reduced to a misdemeanor, stating that the state had failed to prove he made income for 120 days. The state appealed, and the court of appeals reversed.

I advise you to contact a family law attorney right away in order to fight the charge with competent defense methods.


Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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