The rights and responsibilities of parenthood
How to Establish Paternity
Our firm can assist parents in having paternity (also known as ‘legal fatherhood’) established. If you are a new father and are not married to the child’s mother, it is crucial to speak to an attorney to discuss your rights as the father of the child, as well as to discuss the obligations you now have as the child’s father. For many unwed fathers, they face many hurdles before being able to spend quality time with their child/ren and often time the delays happen unnecessarily because the father simply wasn’t aware of his rights.
Paternity in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, paternity over a child can be established one of three ways: 1) mother and father sign and file a “Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement” (VPA) form. The parents can sign this form any time after the baby is born. 2) Through the court process where if paternity is contested, a genetic test is performed or if dad fails to appear at the hearings, a default judgment may be entered against him. 3) If the parents get married after the baby is born, they then can sign and file an “Acknowledgment of Marital Child” form and file it with the state Office of Vital Records.
On the other hand, if you are a new mother and are unmarried to the father of your child, it is equally as important for you to speak to an attorney to discuss the process in which the court can help ensure the father is held financially responsible for the child and a through parenting plan can be discussed and agreed upon.
Whether you are a mother and father, our firm can help you navigate the legal system to ensure a fair and reasonable paternity process. It is crucial to point out that not all paternity cases need to be contentious and not all need intervention from the courts. Often, those parties that work together in the beginning, have better chances of healthy co-parenting relationships throughout their child’s life.