A Wisconsin man convicted of failing to pay child support was sentenced in December 2012 to three years of probation under an unusual condition, reported the Duluth News Tribune.* He is not to have any more children until he can show that he can pay child support.
In Wisconsin, intentional failure to pay child support attracts criminal liabilities. Under state law, upon conviction, this Class E felony is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.^
The 44-year-old man, the father of nine children by six different women, was convicted of failing to pay child support in the amount of $90,000. The judge said at the hearing, “Common sense dictates you shouldn’t have kids you can’t afford.”
The ruling, though it may appear controversial, has its legal foundation. In 2001, a ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision in a similar case, where a convicted deadbeat father was prohibited from procreating.* In the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s view, in imposing sanctions against those convicted for intentionally failing to pay child support, a presiding judge is entitled to take into account other factors, including the power to impose conditions of probation. In its decision, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin affirmed that under certain circumstances an individual on probation can be prohibited from having more children.
Fast-forward to January 2013, when another Wisconsin man, also convicted for intentionally failing to pay child support, was ordered not to have more children until he has paid all his support payments owed in arrears. What’s more, as part of the conditions for his probation, he must tell the women he meets, within 3 minutes of meeting them, that he is a felon who owes child support.*
In Ontario, defaulting on child support doesn’t attract criminal liabilities. However, the enforcement agency known as the Family Responsibility Office (the “FRO”) nonetheless has the power to ask the courts to impose imprisonment for up to 180 days at a default hearing.
*Mike Creger, “Judge orders Northland man not to father any more children” Duluth News Tribune, 23 January 2013, online: <http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/255945/>
^Wis. Stat. § 939.50(3)(e)(1999-2000)
+State v. Oakley, 692 NW 2d 200 (Wis. Sup. Ct. 2001)
This blog is provided for educational purposes and for your reference. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be regarded as such. The writer is not a licensed attorney in the State of Wisconsin and may not provide legal advice on Wisconsin or U.S. law. The law may have changed since the publication of this article.