– from Pamela W. in Lisbon, WI

Question Details:

I do not want to get into specifics due to personal circumstances. I am just wondering though: if something happened and you wanted to take legal action but the statute of limitations has expired,  can you take action if that statue is amended so now there are no limitations?

Family Law Attorney Response:

I'll be honest: without details of the situation to which you are referring, there is not a lot to go on. There are cases where a new statute amends a previous act, allowing an individual to take action which they were previously barred from doing. However, not all statutes undo previous acts.

I can give you an example: in the case of State v. D.B. (In re Paternity of D.L.T.) 137 Wis. 2d 57, 403 N.W.2d 434 (1987), a paternity case failed to meet the current statue to establish parentage within 5 years. Over the years, the statute had extended the limitation to 19 years. This time frame seemingly allowed for action to take place. The court commissioner denied the action, the trial court reversed. The state appealed and the supreme court reversed the trial court's decision.

My advice is to speak to an attorney regarding the details of your situation. I'm sure something can be done.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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