Modification to child support, maintenance

Among the Ask a Divorce Lawyer questions answered today by Cordell & Cordell attorneys:

  • Three of my four sons are now out of the house. Can get the order changed to pay only child support to my one son and no more maintenance?



Our divorce decree from seven years ago says the obligation to pay family support to my ex wife and four sons exists until the youngest reaches the age of majority. Three of the four sons will be out of high school and 18 years old by June leaving the youngest child, 13 years old, and my ex receiving the family support. Can I get the order changed to pay only child support and take maintenance payments out of the equation?


Although I practice in Wisconsin, I would need to see a copy of your divorce decree and know more about the background of your divorce before I could tell you whether support can be modified.  The determination for modification of child support and maintenance will be focused on whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the date of divorce.

Family support is a substitute for child support orders and maintenance payment orders under the Wisconsin statutes.  Family Support, like child support and maintenance are modifiable in Wisconsin if there is a substantial change in circumstances.    You need to contact a domestic litigation attorney to review your divorce decree and to discuss the changes in financial circumstances since the date of your divorce.

Although the child support portion may be reduced based on your three children graduating high school, this does not mean that maintenance will be automatically eliminated.  In fact, the maintenance portion could even increase.  There a variety of factors that the Court takes into consideration when determining the amount and duration of maintenance.  Therefore, you and your attorney need to discuss how circumstances have changed since the date of divorce which would warrant a modification or elimination of the maintenance award as well.

Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located in Wisconsin who would be happy to assist you.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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