You do not have to go through the paternity process alone. If you are navigating a paternity case, we are ready to help. Call us at (414) 453-0800 to set up a confidential consultation with a top-rated Waukesha family lawyer.
Paternity is the Foundation of Fathers’ Rights in Wisconsin
As a starting point, it is important to understand that paternity is the concept of legal fatherhood in Wisconsin. Without paternity, a man has no parental rights and no parental responsibilities. In other words, a man who lacks paternity cannot seek child custody or physical placement of the child. Along the same lines, a man cannot be required to pay child support in Waukesha County unless paternity for the child has been established.
How Paternity Can Be Established in Wisconsin (Four Options)
There are several options for establishing paternity in Waukesha County. Depending on the specific circumstances, proactive measures may or may not be necessary. As noted by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, there are “four ways to establish legal fatherhood” in the state. Here is a more comprehensive overview of the options for proving paternity:
- Marriage: A married man in Wisconsin automatically assumes paternity for his wife’s child. No forms need to be submitted for a married couple to establish paternity. Marriage itself is sufficient when a mother gives birth to a child. If a married man believes that he is not the biological father of his wife’s child, he has to take proactive steps to disestablish paternity.
- Joint Acknowledgment: Unwed couples do need to take action to establish paternity in Wisconsin. Though, the process is relatively straightforward when there is no dispute over the child’s biological parentage. A mother and father can jointly complete and submit a legal document called a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form. This document carries the force of law.
- DNA Testing: Are you involved in a dispute over paternity in Waukesha? If so, the best option for resolving the matter is likely genetic testing of the child and the putative father. DNA testing is highly accurate for establishing parentage. Most paternity disputes in Wisconsin are ultimately resolved through DNA testing.
- Court Order: In some circumstances, it is also possible to establish paternity in Wisconsin through a court order. While most paternity disputes are resolved at the administrative level—through genetic DNA testing—some paternity cases still end up in court. If your paternity case is going to court, our Waukesha parental rights attorneys can help.
A Wisconsin Court May Require a Paternity Test to Resolve a Conflict
The overwhelming majority of paternity disputes in Wisconsin are resolved by taking a DNA test. In this context, genetic testing is nearly perfect. A matching result is sufficient to prove and establish paternity in Wisconsin. This raises an important question: What if one party refuses to cooperate with the DNA testing process? The short answer is that a Wisconsin court can require people to submit to genetic testing as part of a paternity dispute.
If you are a mother who is trying to prove paternity and the putative father refuses to provide a DNA sample, you have a right to petition a Wisconsin court for genetic testing. Similarly, if you are a man seeking to prove paternity but the mother refuses to allow the child to submit to a DNA test, a Wisconsin court can mandate testing. Our Waukesha, WI paternity lawyers help clients navigate these difficult matters.
Our Family Firm Handles All Types of Paternity Cases
We provide solutions-driven family law representation to parents in Waukesha and throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. With more than three decades of experience and 10,000 family law cases handled, our firm takes on all types of paternity cases. Our Waukesha family lawyers offer:
- Representation for Fathers in Paternity Disputes: If you are a man involved in a paternity case, we are prepared to help. Our Waukesha family lawyers provide representation for men seeking to establish paternity and men seeking to protect themselves over an unsubstantiated allegation of paternity.
- Representation for Mothers in Paternity Disputes: Are you a mother going through a paternity case in Southeastern Wisconsin? Our Waukesha paternity lawyers can help. We help mothers establish paternity and defend themselves and their families against a wrongful claim of paternity.
Of course, paternity is one aspect of a family law case. If paternity is established, a man may then go about seeking child custody rights and physical placement. Likewise, if paternity is established, a mother can seek child support payments. Our Waukesha paternity lawyers provide well-rounded legal guidance and support to parents.
How Our Wisconsin Paternity Lawyers Can Help
Paternity matters. It is the basis of a man’s parental rights and parental responsibilities in Wisconsin. At Karp & Iancu, S.C., we help parents in Waukesha County navigate the full range of paternity cases—with a focus on providing proactive and solutions-centered legal guidance and support. Among other things, our Waukesha paternity lawyers are prepared to:
- Hear what you have to say and answer any questions about paternity laws;
- Investigate the case—gathering whatever evidence and information you need;
- Take action to protect your rights, interests, and help you secure the best outcome; and
- Provide more comprehensive family law representation—including in child custody, child visitation, and child support cases.