Deadbeat Dad Jailed on 36-Year-Old Warrant

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on December 13, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It was a date with destiny more than three decades in the making. A deadbeat dad who had moved out of state was nabbed on a 36-year-old child support warrant and taken to jail.

Stephen Schmidt, 70, of Jonesboro, Ga., hadn't returned to Wisconsin in three decades, Reuters reports. But on his first trip back to the Badger State on Friday, Schmidt was pulled over for a traffic violation.

A Wisconsin state trooper spotted Schmidt driving without tail lights, and noted his car exhaust was too loud, Milwaukee's WISN-TV reports. The trooper ran Schmidt's drivers license and found a warrant for unpaid child support -- dating back to 1975.

It's not clear how much Schmidt, the accused deadbeat dad, may owe in back payments for his 36-year-old warrant. Child support laws vary by state, but in general, a child is legally entitled to financial support from a parent until the age of 18; the parents' marital status doesn't matter.

It also doesn't matter if a parent moves out of state. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, adopted in some form by all 50 states, requires each state to defer to child support orders issued in other states.

Despite the laws, unpaid child support from deadbeat dads and moms remains a big issue nationwide. Only about half the parents entitled to child support receive the full amount due, the Census Bureau reports.

Schmidt spent the weekend in jail, and was released in lieu of $2,000 bond. The accused deadbeat dad is expected to appear in a Milwaukee County court on his 36-year-old child support warrant.

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