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Does a birth certificate establish paternity in Wisconsin?

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The answer to the headline to today’s blog is no, at least not under Wisconsin law. This is a frequently asked question where people believe that if a person’s name goes on the birth certificate, that legally establishes the person as being the biological father. This is legally incorrect.

There are two ways that paternity can be established in Wisconsin; 1. By both parties signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and filing it with the state vital statistics department in Madison; this is typically done after the birth of the baby and while still in the hospital. 2. By one of the parties, someone in behalf of the child, or the state where assistance is involved, by filing a formal paternity action in court. Either party may request DNA testing or if state aid, the state can request the testing, to definitively prove whether the person is the biological father or not.

Until that happens, the son Erwin has no legal rights to the child whatsoever. In order to establish legal rights as to custody, placement, child support, health insurance and other similar financial issues that affect the child, one must file a legal court case and request what is referred to as a “terms court hearing.”

If the parties have completed the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and are past the period of recession, either can file for the terms hearing; if filing a formal paternity action in court, the case is bifurcated and Fürst paternity must be determined; once that part is completed, the parties can move on to hold the terms hearing.

If you have questions about paternity, call one of our experienced ended family lawyers well versed in paternity law today at 414 453 0800.

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