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Establishing Paternity in Wisconsin

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establish paternity, Milwaukee paternity lawyer, parental rights, unmarried parent, Voluntary Paternity AcknowledgementA child deserves to have a relationship with and receive support from both parents, whether his or her parents are married or unmarried. In cases when parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth, or when the identity of the child’s father is in question, it is important to follow the proper legal procedures to establish paternity. This will ensure that a child’s parents can exercise their parental rights and that the child will receive the financial support he or she needs from both parents.

Methods of Establishing Paternity

Wisconsin law recognizes three ways to establish paternity: 

  1. Voluntary acknowledgement – Both parents may sign a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form after a child is born. After doing so, the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. This form is available at all Wisconsin hospitals or at child support agencies, local Register of Deeds offices, or the state Vital Records Office. Before signing a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement form, parents should be sure that the alleged father is the child’s actual, biological father. If necessary, DNA testing may be performed prior to signing the form.

  2. Court hearing – If the parents do not agree that the alleged father is the child’s biological father, a hearing will be held to establish paternity. The alleged father may ask for DNA testing to confirm paternity, and paternity will be legally established if tests show a 99 percent or higher probability that he is the child’s biological father.

  3. Legitimation – Unmarried parents who get married after their child is born may sign an Acknowledgement of Marital Child form, which will give the parents and child the same rights as if they had been married prior to the child’s birth. This form is available at child support agencies or the state Vital Records Office, and it should be signed, notarized, and mailed to the Vital Records Office. After the form is processed, the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. 

When paternity has been established, the father will have the right to petition to share legal custody and physical placement of the child, and his consent will be required before the child can be put up for adoption. In addition, the child will have the right to receive child support payments from the father. 

Contact a Milwaukee Family Law Attorney

If you are an unmarried parent, it is important to legally establish your child’s paternity, which will ensure that his or her rights are protected and that he or she will receive the financial support needed. If you have any questions about establishing paternity, the attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can provide you with the advice and representation you need throughout the legal process. Contact a Milwaukee, WI paternity lawyer at 414-271-1440 to schedule a consultation.





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