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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37818
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Ive been divorced since 2003, married for 15 years, 3 minor

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I've been divorced since 2003, married for 15 years, 3 minor children. I'm currently receiving biweekly "family support" payments in lieu of Child support, claiming them on my taxes each year as income. Because I finally got on with my life and have a "boyfriend" living with me, for the past 2 years, who also has two children that he shares joint custody with his ex wife, my ex husband feels his support is helping "Paul" and his children out as well, and he's tired of supporting them. He wants to reduce his "family support" to me in half. Our MSA states that family support shall terminate on the death of either party, or my remarriage. There was never a co-habitation clause in our MSA. The only joint accounts Paul and I hold are his two checking accounts, so I can pay his bills for him. He is not on my Mortgage, nor have I Quit Claim Deeded him over to my property. He is not on any of my asset accounts, not that I have anything to speak of. My question, if I don't agree to reduce my "family support" voluntarily to my ex, and he does take legal action, do I stand a chance of losing all support? Or, is there a slight chance the Wisconsin court will side with me and my life will continue the way it is. I am not engaged-my kids ages are 16, 16 and 9. Thanks-Barb
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
The court has authority to modify a family support award, regardless of any agreement of the parties. Huhn v. Stuckmann, 2009 WI App 127, 321 Wis. 2d 169, 772 N.W.2d 744.

If the court modifies, it will "bifurcate" the current award into spousal and child support, making the child support nontaxable, and the spousal suppor taxable -- then the court will reconsider the child support component. The spousal support component will only be modified if the settlement agreement reserves jurisdiction to the court to modify.

So, the answer is "no," you stand no chance of losing all support. As long as your children are still eligible for child support, the court is required to order it according to the statewide uniform guidelines.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks-I have no idea what your first two paragraphs say, but I understand the third one. So whether or not it's Family support or Child Support that I am receiving, it doesn't matter if I have someone new in my life. My ex's income vs my income.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
LOL! Your comment reminds me of a quote from a non-very well remembered 1979 movie staring Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford, "The Frisco Kid," in which actor Val Bisoglio, as Chief Grey Cloud takes the Jewish Torah/Bible from Gene Wilder, who plays the rabbi, holds it over his head and announces loudly to his tribe, "I have read this book!" And, then he leans over to Wilder and whispers, "And, I did not understand one word!"

Anyway, your new relationship, if it substantially changes your financial circumstances, could affect your right to spousal maintenance. But, not child support. Moreover, just because your new partner is contributing to the bills, doesn't mean that the court will consider that contribution sufficient to reduce your spousal maintenance. It's discretionary with the court.

Hope this helps.

socrateaser and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Never saw that Gene Wilder movie, and I can certainly relate to Bisoglio.

Well- I can honestly tell you that my partner just pays the electric bill and cable/internet/phone bill which has been helpful. Has it changed my financial circumstances? The answer to that question is "doubt it!" If he didn't live with me, my electric wouldn't be so expensive. Before he moved in, I didn't have cable tv.

I have an idea as to a counter offer to my ex husband. If he doesn't like it, he'll have to file the necessary papers at his expense. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 5 years ago.
You're welcome and good luck.

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