When unmarried parents have a child, the father may not be automatically recognized as the father. Taking the time to establish paternity helps protect the father’s parental rights. Furthermore, it helps to ensure that the child receives financial support from both parents.
The lawyers at Schwei & Wendt, S.C., have more than 50 years of combined family law experience. We have broad experience working closely with both mothers and fathers throughout Waukesha County to resolve paternity-related issues.
Wisconsin has three primary methods that parents can use to establish paternity:
Voluntary acknowledgment: Parents can voluntarily establish paternity by completing a voluntary paternity acknowledgment. The parents can fill out this document any time after the child is born. However, it is better to complete it sooner rather than later.
Court hearing: There are circumstances when the man and the woman cannot agree on who the biological father is. In these situations, the court will determine paternity during a hearing. To make a ruling, the court will review all evidence, including any genetic paternity test results. Both parents should attend the hearing, although the court can still make a default ruling even if one party is not present.
Acknowledgment of marital child: If the parents marry after the child’s birth, they may complete the acknowledgment of marital child form. This form establishes paternity and is available through child support agencies or the Vital Records Office.
Fathers who establish paternity protect their parental rights, thereby protecting their ability to see their children regularly and make custodial decisions on a child’s behalf. Parents may seek paternity as a means of receiving child support payments from the other parent to help offset the high costs of raising a child.
After paternity is established, children can inherit assets from both parents. Children can also receive important benefits from their parents such as health insurance, veterans benefits, and Social Security benefits.
In handling paternity cases, other issues often must be addressed, including legal custody, placement of the child, child support, health insurance costs, medical bills, and birthing expenses.
Our attorneys pursue every option to resolve your paternity issues as quickly as possible. While we always seek an amicable outcome, we have resolved hundreds of cases in trial to defend our clients’ interests.
Learn more by contacting us at our Waukesha office to schedule a free consultation.