– from Willie X. in Slinger, WI

Question Details:

My father and mother divorced when I was six. The court ordered my father to pay child support for the remainder of my childhood. My father failed to pay the child support, and an action was not filed against him by my mother. When I turned 18, my mom assigned the case to me and said I can file a case against my father if I want to. Is there anything barring me from filing a case even though it was an order that was set over a decade ago?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Thank you for your question. While I would like to know a few more details regarding the case, I do believe you have every right to file a lawsuit against your father.

In Kroeger v. Kroeger, 120 Wis.2d 48, 353 N.W.2d 60 (Ct. App. 1984), a father attempted to appeal a child from filing a lawsuit against him regarding support payments, claiming the statute of limitations passed and therefore barred the suit. However, the court of appeals rejected this defense as the child could not file a lawsuit until she reached the majority age. The court ruled that a child receives the rights to file an action against his/her father as the mother does when the child was a minor. Generally, if an act repealing a statute of limitation does not expressly provide for claims, which accrued prior to the repeal, the court of appeals looks to the statute of limitation in effect when the claim accrued. A statute of limitations does not accrue on a child until she finally becomes legal majority.

Give me a call so we can discuss how long you have had the opportunity to file a case and what your next step is.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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