Question Details:

I was recently in court. The court justified the Department of Health and Social Services determination that my current wife’s income is to be considered when determining my ability to pay child support in a modification case. Can I appeal this decision based on section 766.55(2)(c)2, which would prohibit them from satisfying my support obligations with my wife’s income, who is not liable in any way?

Family Law Attorney Response:

If the court is not ordering her to pay your support, in some cases, they may take her income into consideration when determining your ability to pay, yes. This is because it changes the equation of earned income based on both parties ability to pay. In other words, if you make minimum wage, but your current spouse makes $250,000 per year, the amount owed may be based upon the joint income of you and your wife. This would mean your families mean income may be somewhere in the neighborhood of $262,000 per year. This was also demonstrated in the case of J.G.W. v. Outagamie Cnty. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. (In the Interest of A.L.W.) 153 Wis. 2d 412, 451 N.W.2d 416 (1990). In this case, the court ruled the legality of the determination of both, the husband and the current wife’s income in regards to the support award. I suggest that you contact an experienced family attorney right away.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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