– from Samuel P. in Brown Deer, WI

Question Details:

At the time, the temporary order was issued based on my income. I have since been laid off. I now make much less, despite the fact that I have been looking for a higher paying job. I have documented each attempt. Will I still have to pay the child support as dictated by the temporary order when the final judgment is entered?

Family Law Attorney Response:

There is no way to say definitively what the courts will decide in matters of support. There are several factors that may come into play when a court decides in these matters. One in particular is your current ability to pay, as opposed to your potential earning capacity.

This is illustrated in the case of Wallen v. Wallen 139 Wis. 2d 217, 407 N.W.2d 293 (Ct. App. 1987). The court decided to enforce the temporary order through final judgment. Upon appeal, the court of appeals reversed. This was based on the fact that the trial court based its judgment off potential capacity, instead of actual income earnings at the time of divorce. The court of appeals found this logic to be in err.

My advice is to speak with an attorney right away to discuss the details of your situation.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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