Franks v. Smiley


Appeal No. 2018AP2278, WI Ct. App., 3rd Dist. (2020)


Amber appealed a post judgement order modifying the divorce agreement providing Charles with shared legal custody and increased physical placement of their children. Amber contended that Charles failed to demonstrate a “substantial change of circumstances” justifying the modifications, and that the ordered modifications were not in the children’s best interests.

The appellate court affirmed, holding that among other things, Charles’ previous inability to provide a suitable environment for the children had been remedied; he had obtained new employment that provided regular work hours and a flexible schedule; one of the children had developed a very close relationship with his stepdaughter and the children are now of an age (nine and six) where they are capable of expressing a desire to spend more time with their father.

The circuit court concluded that the “accumulation of all these significant changes certainly constitutes a substantial change in circumstances.” and the appellate court agreed.

The provisions of WIS.STAT. §767.451(1)(b)3.’s that changes in economic circumstances and marital status do constitute a substantial change of circumstances does not mean that the court cannot consider same.

(Not recommended for publication.)

(Affirmed the order rendered by the Honorable George L. Glonek (Douglas County)

[ Full Opinion ]