– from Kenneth G. in Greenfield, WI

Question Details:

My ex-girlfriend and I lived in Michigan before moving to Wisconsin several years ago. It was never established whether I am the biological father of her daughter, but I claimed parentage at the time. She took me to court, and we settled with me agreeing to childcare, medical expenses, and a one-lump payment instead of paying support. Now we both live in Wisconsin, and she informed me that she is going to take me to court for child support. This had already been settled in Michigan. Can I be ordered to pay support in Wisconsin after Michigan declared that I am not liable?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This can go in one of several ways, but many things will be taken into account by the courts when making their decision. In all honesty, Wisconsin does not have to honor the decision made by a Michigan court. They may, but they have no obligation. The court may even decide to award support and consider the lump sum payment a credit toward support. This is only one possibility for child support cases, though.

As an example, the case of Weidner v. W.G.N. (In re Paternity of B.W.S.) 125 Wis. 2d 212, 371 N.W.2d 379 (Ct. App. 1985) (Affirmed by 131 Wis. 2d 301, 388 N.W.2d 615 (1986)) was very similar to your situation. the Wisconsin court in this case decided that even after a settlement award in the state of Michigan, the father was still liable for support. A court in one state does not have to abide by the decision of another, especially where laws are slightly different according to each jurisdiction.

My advice would be to speak with a lawyer and provide them with all the details of your previous case. Then, you will be advised on best course of action, with the highest probability of an acceptable outcome.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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