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How can I Establish Paternity in Wisconsin?

Every child is born with two biological parents. A child’s parents have both responsibilities and rights. When parents are married, the husband is typically presumed to be the father. When parents are unmarried, paternity is not necessarily a given fact. The parents must take steps to establish the biological father. Until this step is completed, the court cannot enforce child support or establish visitation. It is helpful to understand the reasons why establishing paternity is essential.

Reasons to Establish Paternity

When a child’s parents are not listed directly on the birth certificate, the parents will want to legally establish paternity. You must establish paternity for the courts to recognize the parents for legal matters. Establishing paternity will ensure that the father has legal rights such as visitation. The parent also has obligations like providing health insurance. Paternity provides a child with genetic information that is useful for medical treatment.

A child will also be able to be included in the father’s inheritance and death benefits. Most importantly, establishing paternity provides the child with a more complete sense of identity. The father will be able to spend time with the child and provide stability in the child’s life. The father will provide support to the child to assist with the child’s upbringing and needs.

Methods to Establish Paternity in Wisconsin

There are several ways to establish paternity in Wisconsin. The method that you use depends on the willingness of both parents to agree to the process.

Voluntary Acknowledgement: If both parents agree, they can sign a voluntary acknowledgement when the child is born or thereafter. The father’s name will then be placed on the birth certificate.Court Ruling: If the named father does not agree, the court must make a determination of paternity. Both parents must attend a hearing. DNA testing may be requested to prove the parenthood.

Legitimization of Marital Child: Unwed parents can legitimatize their child by getting married. Both parents must sign the form in front of a notary and provide it to the Wisconsin Office of Vital Records.

The parent can request a hearing to establish paternity. Other individuals who are allowed to file a hearing request include the child, a man that claims to be the child’s biological father, a court-appointed attorney or guardian, a grandparent, or the State of Wisconsin.

Legal Help with Paternity Issues

Paternity issues can be complex, and they will have a lifelong impact on your child and your family. It is critical to understand the legal ramifications of paternity. Whether you are trying to establish the paternity of your child or are contesting a claim of paternity, a family law attorney will help. Your lawyer will review the situation, answer your questions, and provide guidance throughout the process. The evidence in a paternity case is done through DNA testing. Once a parent can prove paternity through DNA tests, the court will establish paternity. There is a seven-year time limit to receive back child support and other monies, so it is best to establish paternity as soon as possible.

To learn more and to get the legal assistance you need for paternity issues, contact Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss the details of your case.

Published February 19, 2020
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