Wisconsin has seen its fair share of odd child support cases in the past few months. In December we wrote about a Wisconsin father who was ordered to stop having more children until he could prove that he could provide for the nine children he’s already fathered. Today, we’ve learned about a Wisconsin judge who has stipulated another unique clause as part of a man’s sentencing.
Judge Eugene Harrington ordered that John Butler must reveal that he is a convicted felon who owes child support within three minutes of meeting any female.
Butler was sentenced to two years probation after he plead no contest in October to felony failure to pay child support for more than 120 days. Although he’ll avoid jail time, Butler has a long list of probation guidelines.
For two years, Butler must:
- Maintain full-time employment
- Make child support payments
- Undergo professional counseling
- Stay sober
- Tell any new female acquaintances that he is a convicted felon who has unpaid child support within three minutes of meeting them.
- Not father any more children until his entire past-due child support has been paid.
The conditions may seem harsh for someone who owes child support payments, but this wasn’t Butler’s first run-in with the law. He has had previous incidents involving drugs, domestic violence, and drinking and driving.
Although Judge Harrington declined to comment on the probation terms, ordering a father to stop having children is becoming more common. The precedent in Wisconsin may have been set in 2001, when a judge ordered a man to stop having children until he paid off his past due child support payments. In their ruling, the court said any “Wisconsin judge can take into account a broad array of factors, including the gravity of the offense and need for protection of the public and potential victims.”
By ordering Butler not to have any more children, the court is looking out for the best interests of any future children. While it’s unknown how involved Butler is in his children’s lives, it is clear that he isn’t providing the necessary financial support. Hopefully this sentence will help him get his life back on track, for his sake and for his children’s sake.
Family Law Attorney Amanda Crain comments
While this Wisconsin case is very unique, sometimes there is a need for the court to get “creative” to enforce compliance with a child support order. Minnesota courts have yet to take such a strong position on a parent’s failure to pay child support.
In Minnesota, a parent’s failure to make child support payments can result in a revocation of that parent’s passport, driver’s license, and recreational license. The court may also order that a parent turn over their tax returns or even intercept the returns without that parent’s consent. As a last resort, the parent may be ordered to spend time in jail for failure to pay child support.
Related source: Duluth News Tribune