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Establishing Paternity in Wisconsin

Posted on in Criminal Law

wisconsin paternity lawyerThe State of Wisconsin grants fathers certain rights regarding their children. However, a father must establish his legal relationship to the child before he gains many of these rights. Establishing paternity allows a father to ask the court for custody and visitation, and add his child to his health insurance. Children also gain inheritance rights and access to the father’s social security benefits.

However, accessing any of these rights is difficult if the father cannot establish paternity or, in other words, prove they are the child’s biological father.

Paternity is also relevant to children and mothers. The court cannot issue a child support order unless the paternity of the father is established.

Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement

If both parents agree who the father is, they can sign a voluntary paternity acknowledgement form to establish paternity. This form is generally signed by unwed couples at the hospital after the mother gives birth. It is then filed with the secretary of state.

Note, signing a VPA has serious legal ramifications. A couple should never sign a VPA without having full confidence in the identity of the father. If there is any confusion, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer.

Additionally, a VPA can only be signed if both the mother and the father are over the age of 18, and it cannot be signed if the mother is married to another man.

Court Hearing

If there is disagreement over the identity of the father, a court hearing will be held to establish paternity. Both parties will appear at the hearing, and each will be given the opportunity to present evidence.

The court may order the alleged father to undergo a genetic test. If the results have a 99 percent chance or higher of accuracy, they are presumed correct.

If the alleged father refuses to submit to a DNA test, he may be held in contempt of court.

Contact a Waukesha County Paternity Lawyer

Paternity, divorce, and child custody are not just run-of-the-mill legal disputes. They are emotionally charged, often highly contentious, matters that cause stress and anxiety for all those involved.

If you are confronted with a family-related legal issue, it is important to find an attorney that not only knows the law but appreciates the circumstances you are facing.

The family law attorneys at Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP have provided Wisconsin residents with candid advice and an empathetic voice for years. They see their clients as unique individuals and not dollar signs, offering personalized legal representation built around the client’s needs.

Finding the right legal representation is about comfort and trust. If you need a Waukesha County family law attorney, contact Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP today at 262-232-6699 for a free initial consultation.



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