Dad, father, papa, pop — so many names for the person who helps bring a child to life. Although you may have fathered a child, if you did not marry the mother, the state of Wisconsin may not recognize you as the child’s legal parent.
What can you do to prove you are the father and help raise your son or daughter? Here are three ways that may help you gain paternity rights.
1. Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment
Once the child is born, you and the mother can sign a VPA legally establishing you as the father. You may file the acknowledgment after the child is born. However, to ensure the child’s rights, file it as soon as possible.
Completing the form does not create a child support order or give you legal custody.
2. Court ruling
If you or the mother do not agree on paternity, you can go to court to establish it. You will have a hearing, at which point the court can give you your rights and responsibilities.
You must show up for court even if you believe you are not the father. By not showing, the court could enter a default ruling naming you as the father.
3. DNA testing
The court can determine you are the child’s father by meeting these conditions:
- Child support services issue an administrative subpoena requesting genetic testing
- The testing shows 99% or higher probability results
- Mother and father are over the age of 18
- There are no other paternity suits
You know you are the father of your child, and Wisconsin gives you several ways to prove it. Establishing paternity is more than providing for your child monetarily. It is also giving your son or daughter the emotional support and stability of a loving father.