Paternity is the established, legal relationship between a father and child – and Wisconsin’s paternity statutes recognize that relationship in a way that allows a father to assert his rights to custody and visitation. Paternity also plays a big role in a father’s legal obligations to a child when it comes to support.
What to Know About Wisconsin Paternity Statutes
Wisconsin presumes paternity when two parents are married and have a child. That means the mother’s spouse at the time of the child’s birth is considered to be the child’s father.
If the parents aren’t married, the parents can agree and sign paperwork saying that the father is the child’s biological parent. This is called acknowledging paternity, and it’s a simple, straightforward process.
If one or both parents aren’t sure about paternity, a court can decide.
Parents can sign a statement that affirms a man is a child’s biological father. Then, the parents can file that statement with the Wisconsin state registrar. Once that’s done, either parent can file a case in the county circuit court to ask a judge to rule on things related to child custody and child support.
What if You Change Your Mind?
If new information comes to light – or if you want to “take back” your statement – you have 60 days to do so. (You can still rescind it if more than 60 days have passed, but you have to prove that you signed it because you were under duress, someone committed fraud, or there was a mistake of fact.)
Who Can File a Petition With the Court to Establish Paternity?
Any of these people can file a petition with the court to establish paternity:
- The child
- The child’s biological mother
- A man who claims to be the child’s father
- A person who has legal or physical custody of the child
- The state of Wisconsin
- A guardian ad litem who’s been appointed to represent the child
- A grandparent, provided the parent is dependent on that grandparent
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Wisconsin Paternity Statutes?
If you need to talk to an attorney about how Wisconsin paternity statutes will affect your case, we’re here to help. Call us at 414-383-6700 now.