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October 14, 2005
Case Law Development: Consent to Adoption Does not Extinguish Child Support Arrearages
In a case of first impression, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals holds that a father's consesnt to termination of his parental rights and the subsequent adoption of the child by a stepparent does not extinguish father's obligation to pay for child support arrearages. The court interpreted the language of the adoption statute as terminating all obligations arising after the adoption but not extinguishing past obligations. Moreover, the court noted that TPR and consent to adoption affect only the father's legal duties to the child, not to the other parent. However, the court pointed out that "while child support is ordered to benefit the child, it actually is an obligation owed to the recipient parent."
Hernandez v. Allen, 2005 Wisc. App. LEXIS 891 (October 12, 2005)
Opinion on the web at http://www.courts.state.wi.us/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=19917 (last visited October 13, 2005 bgf)