Paternity and DNA Testing

Paternity refers to a legal action to establish that a man is the father of a child. A paternity action may be brought in order to impose a child support obligation, establish a right to inheritance, secure consent for the child's adoption, or gain or prohibit custody or placement rights.

Establishing paternity is financially important and establishes parental rights while contributing to a child's sense of identity. If you have a concern about paternity litigation, child support enforcement or parental rights in southeastern Wisconsin, turn to a paternity lawyer at Brazil & Benske, LLCI, in Milwaukee. Our family law attorneys have the resources to help establish paternity, or to set the record straight when paternity has been incorrectly asserted.

What If No Paternity DNA Testing Is Required?

In a situation in which an acknowledgement of paternity has been signed, paternity is established immediately. (A blue form would have been presented at the hospital.) There is still a need, however, to set up child support and other financial factors as well as custody and placement rights.

Child Custody

Custody grants the rights and responsibilities to one or both parents to make major decisions concerning the child as determined by the court or the agreement of both parties. Some of these major decisions are consent to marry before the child turns 18, consent to enter military service before 18, consent to obtain a driver's license, authorization for non-emergency health care, and choice of school and religion. The determination of whether custody should be sole or joint is based on the best interests of the child, with a presumption that joint custody would be best for the child.

Child Placement

Physical placement determines where the child lives. If the parties do not agree on the physical placement schedule, there is a procedure through the courts to help the parties reach an agreement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court makes a decision. When making the decision, the court considers all facts relevant to the best interests of the child. Some of the factors are:

  • The wishes of the child's parents
  • The wishes of the child, which may be communicated by the child or through the child's guardian ad item or other professional
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child and his or her parents, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest
  • The amount and quality of time that each parent has spent with the child in the past, any necessary changes to the parents' custodial roles and any reasonable lifestyle changes that a parent proposes to make to be able to spend time with the child in the future
  • The child's adjustment to the home, school, religion and community
  • The age of the child and the child's developmental and educational needs at different ages

Other important factors the courts may take into consideration:

  • The mental and physical health of the parties, the minor children and others living in the proposed custodial household
  • The need for regularly occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child
  • The availability of public or private child care services
  • The cooperation and communication between the parties and whether either party unreasonably refuses to cooperate or communicate with the other party
  • Whether each party can support the other party's relationship with the child, including encouraging and facilitating frequent and continuing contact with the child, or whether one party is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child's continuing relationship with the other party

Child Support Obligations

Child support obligations placed on the father will be based on the amount of time that the child spends with each parent and the incomes of the parents. We will work with you to ensure that the proper amounts are being paid, taking into consideration not only the child support formulas but also health insurance and dependency exemptions.

We also help our clients in custody and child welfare matters with services such as:

  • Adoption
  • Juvenile guardianship
  • Grandparents' rights and custody

Get The Legal Help You Need: Call Us

Call our offices in Milwaukee at 414-939-0468 or send an email with a brief explanation of your paternity litigation matter. We will reply quickly to set up an initial consultation.