Can failure to exercise visitation increase support in Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Rose F. in Hartland, WI

Question Details:

As a part of the final divorce judgment, the court agreed to a stipulation that my husband would receive custody, and I would pay support, but with reasonable visitation rights. I work a lot, so I am not able to see the kids as much as I would like. My husband has recently informed me that in light of my not exercising my reasonable rights for visitation, he would be petitioning for an increase of support. I asked him on what grounds he would be making this petition. He said he is basing the petition on a substantial change of circumstance. Is a failure to exercise visitation considered a substantial change in circumstance?

Family Law Attorney Response:

The court will ultimately view this petition based on several factors. Some of these factors include comparing the factual inquiry when the award was made and present financial circumstances. The court would have to decide whether or not a financial change has occurred due to a failure of visitation. This is not very likely.

This is seen in the case of Peters v. Peters 145 Wis. 2d 490, 427 N.W.2d 149 (Ct. App. 1988). In this case, a mother also petitioned the court under similar circumstances. The court granted her a higher support award, but the husband appealed and the court of appeals reversed. The court of appeals asserted that, without proof that the father’s lack of visitation resulted in a financial impact, no substantial change of circumstance could be proven.

My advice is to contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your situation in detail.


Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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