– from Mark B. in Dousman, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I divorced a few months ago and I was ordered to pay child support for our two children. We divorced for reasons of infidelity on her part. At the time of divorce, I asked for a paternity test to determine parentage. I was still ordered to pay child support while the paternity proceedings took place. The results are in and I am not the father. Can I get a refund for the child support I paid?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This question is actually quite complex. There are many things the court will factor in. First, did you have prior knowledge that the children were not yours? If you knew, and still accepted responsibility, that is a factor that will be considered. Second, the age of the children and prior attempts made to establish paternity will also be considered. Without all the details, it is hard to determine a probable outcome for this child support case.

I can cite a previous case that is similar, however.  In the case of Strawser v. Strawser 126 Wis. 2d 485, 377 N.W.2d 196 (Ct. App. 1985), a father established that he was not the father of two of three children. He moved for a reimbursement of 2/3 of past child support. The court denied the request and issued a sua sponte order backdating the wife’s maintenance nunc pro tunc to the original trial. He appealed, and the decisions of child support and maintenance were reversed. Your case will be determined on its own merits, but this is one possible outcome.

My advice is to seek the help and expertise of an experienced family law attorney right away.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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