Parker v. Parker

In Parker v. Parker, 152 Wis. 2d 1, 447 N.W.2d 64 (Ct. App. 1989), Wayne Parker was ordered to pay forty dollars per week for child support. See Parker, 152 Wis. 2d at 3, 447 N.W.2d at 64. Twelve years after the divorce, Parker was convicted of theft; his prison sentence was stayed and he was placed on probation. Later, Parker's probation was revoked and he was sent to prison. See id. He petitioned for a suspension of his support obligation during his incarceration. The circuit court denied relief on the grounds that Parker's voluntary and intentional acts caused his predicament. See id. at 3, 447 N.W.2d at 64-65. The Court held that whether to terminate or suspend a child support order calls for the exercise of a circuit court's discretion. See id. at 6, 447 N.W.2d at 66. The Court agreed with the circuit court that Wayne did not have to be excused from his obligation because of "a willful act that resulted in his imprisonment." See id. at 5, 447 N.W.2d at 65. The Court noted that "Parker certainly could have anticipated that his unlawful activity and subsequent probation violation might result in imprisonment." Id. In upholding the circuit court's decision, we stated that a circuit court should consider the intentional nature of the crime, the likelihood of future income, and other relevant evidence when deciding whether to adjust child support because of incarceration. See id. at 6, 447 N.W.2d at 66. The Court recognized that the needs of Parker's children did not diminish while he was in prison. See id.