Paternity refers to a legal relationship between a father and child, which allows a father to pursue custody and visitation arrangements while imposing a legal obligation for the father to support his child financially. Although paternity is automatically established when a child is conceived to a married couple, many couples are not tying the knot these days so sometimes establishing paternity can become an issue.
One of the easiest ways to establish paternity in Wisconsin is for the parents to sign a statement acknowledging that the father is, in fact, the biological parent. Remember, a statement acknowledging paternity should only be signed if you are certain regarding the parentage of the child because it is easier to sign on than it is to rescind it later.
When the acknowledgement of paternity is filed with the court, a judge can then decide custody, visitation and child support issues. It is a good idea to secure legal representation to ensure that a child’s best interests are being served, particularly if you have any concerns.
If there is a disagreement regarding the paternity of a child, a mother or a father can file a petition to establish paternity with the court. In the past, this may have conjured up an image of a mother tracking down a deadbeat dad, but nowadays, there are more and more cases of dads seeking to establish paternity so they can have a relationship with their child.
Aside from a mom or dad filing, a child, a child’s representative, a child’s guardian, the State and even a grandparent of a dependent parent can all file a petition to establish legal fatherhood ‘paternity’ in Wisconsin. A potential father can be ordered to undergo a paternity test and if his test results come back positive, paternity will be established unless there is convincing proof to the contrary.
The belief is that children benefit from a relationship with both parents and of course the financial support that two parents can provide. However, there are cases where a biological father may have a history of domestic abuse, drug or alcohol addiction, or other harmful behaviors that could potentially harm the child.
In cases where a father is on the road to establishing paternity rights and the other parent has legitimate concerns, it is very important to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney who can help you seek a custody and visitation arrangement that takes into account the unique circumstances of your case.
If on the other hand, you are a father who has simply been cut out of the equation because the other parent would rather move on, you have a right to have a relationship with your child and should pursue legal representation to that end.
Contact Experienced Wisconsin Paternity and Parental Rights Attorneys
Over 25 Years of Experience Handling Parental Rights Cases In Wisconsin
If you have questions regarding Wisconsin paternity, child custody and visitation or child support, contact an experienced Wisconsin paternity attorney at the Family Law Offices of Jane Probst for a free consultation today.