– from Aaron Y. in Elm Grove, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I filed for divorce four years ago. She won child support and the court ordered child support. Initially, I made all the payments on time and in full. However, my hours at work decreased so I did not have enough to make payments in full. I recently lost my job and now cannot make payments and have missed the last four months. Is it possible to have my arrears erased as my daughter turns 18 in one month.

Family Law Attorney Response:

I need more details about your child support to give you a better answer, however I believe you have a strong argument for your arrears to be eliminated.

In the case of O’Brien v. Freiley, 130 Wis.2d 174, 387 N.W.2d 85 (Ct. App. 1986), it was decided that the trial court has the sound discretion of reducing support arrears, as long as there is cause of justification or it results in an unjust result. Without either, the trial court cannot reduce arrears. Therefore, retroactive modification of arrears is discretionary. However, if arrears are to be reduced due to a decrease in income during some years, but the party’s income stayed the same or increased, this is an unjust result and is not allowed.

Give me a call so we can discuss the details regarding you loss of income and payments and see if we can set up a motion.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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