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Child Support is Not Due in Split of Same Sex Parents

by | Sep 19, 2013

A recent ruling has set a surprising precedent. When two women who have raised a child together split, or otherwise end their relationship, the mother’s former partner does not have to pay child support in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.  The parties were in a committed relationship for 14 years, but Wisconsin does not recognize the right of two members of the same sex to marry.  The Court did order that the former partner have visitation rights in Wisconsin, but ruled that Wisconsin law does not provide for a non-parent to pay child support in Wisconsin to a parent.

In a related ruling, IRS Ruling 2013-17, the Treasury Department and the IRS ruled that all legal same sex marriages will be recognized for Federal tax purposes.  The rule is broadly applied, “to all Federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.”  This ruling relies on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The IRS recognizes the marriage of same sex individuals validly entered in a state whose laws authorize such a marriage.  According to Ruling 2013-17, marriage does not include a registered domestic partnership, civil union or other arrangement not officially recognized as a marriage between individuals of the same sex.

Wisconsin taxes are another matter.  Legally married, same sex couples in Wisconsin will be required to fill out a special form (Scheduled S) and file their Wisconsin income taxes as individuals, even though they may file their Federal taxes as married.  It is anticipated that this ruling will be appealed because the Wisconsin Tax Code provides that the State of Wisconsin will follow the Federal Tax Code, except when State statutes provide otherwise, which is not the case here.Here at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C., we have many experienced Wisconsin divorce lawyers who are capable of offering expert advice for you during a divorce. Call now for a free consultation with one of our Wisconsin divorce attorneys.

Written by Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C.

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