Brad Michael L. v. Lee D.

564 N.W.2d 354 (1997)

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Brad Michael L. v. Lee D.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals
564 N.W.2d 354 (1997)

Facts

Catherine L. gave birth to a son, Brad Michael L. (plaintiff), in 1977. Catherine was not married and did not seek to establish paternity. However, when Brad was 15 years old, Catherine realized she would not be able to pay for Brad’s college expenses. Catherine then contacted Brad’s father, Lee D. (defendant), who had no knowledge of Brad’s birth or existence, and asked if he would place his name on Brad’s birth certificate. Lee did not respond. Catherine was barred by a statute of limitations from bringing a paternity action. However, Catherine learned that Brad could bring a paternity action. Blood tests confirmed that Lee was Brad’s father. Lee was married with two children and was a successful farmer and logger. A trial court ordered Lee to begin paying $500 per month in child support but did not order Lee to pay any past child support. The court felt that applying Wisconsin’s child-support law to Lee in relation to back child support would transgress the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution and would not be fair to Lee, who was not notified of Brad’s existence for 15 years and did not have the chance to build a relationship with his son.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schudson, J.)

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