– from Victor I. in Greenfield, WI

Question Details:

I am a divorced father of two children. My wife and I were divorced almost three years ago, and she was awarded custody. I was ordered to pay child support, and I paid it voluntarily for about two years. About a year ago, I started forwarding the money directly to my ex-wife. She said she wasn't receiving the full amount that I was paying through child support, so I figured that it would be best to pay her directly. Now, child support enforcement is claiming that I haven't paid in almost a year. Does the money I gave directly to my ex-wife count as towards child support?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Unfortunately, no. It does not count toward your child support payments. It actually counts as a non-recoupable gift.

There was a similar case, Hirschfield v. Hirschfield, 118 Wis. 2d 468, 347 N.W.2d 627 (Ct. App. 1984). In this situation, a man had paid his wife directly and additionally provided school clothes, and other items. However, due to his failure to pay the court ordered amount, he accumulated a large arrearage. He then motioned to prove that he had paid the amount of the arrearage directly to his ex-wife. The court denied his motion.

I would advise you to speak to a family law attorney before going to court on this matter. Legal representation is always best, especially when you must show cause for a failure to adhere to a court order.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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