Can A Party Request Child Support Years After They Originally Denied It?

divorce lawyer Daniel ExnerQuestion:

When I was granted child custody several years I did not seek child support from my ex-wife.

Now that my business is suffering and my ex is gainfully employed with a substantial salary, do child support laws allow me to request she pay me child support even though I originally denied it?


While I am not licensed to practice in your jurisdiction, I can provide you with some general divorce help for men regarding the issue in your question.

A parent who has primary placement, or what some states refer to as the “custodial parent,” typically has the right to receive child support from the non-custodial parent to help defray the costs of raising children and maintaining their home.

The amount of child support will depend on the formula used in your state to calculate support. For example, in Wisconsin (where I practice), a parent with primary placement (over 273 overnights per year) is typically granted a set percentage of the other parent’s gross income based on the number of children the parties have.

Wisconsin uses a formula that is applied when the parents have a shared placement schedule which takes into consideration the earnings of each party and the number of overnights each parent has.

In Wisconsin, the ability to receive child support cannot be waived because it technically belongs to the child. The parties can ask the court to “hold open” support, or set the amount to zero but that decision is not a permanent decision; either party can file a motion with the court to modify child support if there is a substantial change in circumstances.

A decrease in your income, an increase in expenses, and an increase in the other parent’s income can all contribute to a substantial change in circumstances.

Your decision to not request child support in the past would not preclude you from seeking child support in the future. Modifications to support orders are generally prospective so you will not want to delay.

Again, because the answer to your question will depend on whether the practice in your state is consistent with the laws of Wisconsin, I encourage you to speak to a domestic litigation attorney for financial advice on divorce.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with a divorce attorney, including Daniel Exner, a Staff Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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