Paths To Legal Fatherhood: 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 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 Benske Family Law, 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 nonemergency 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.
- 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.
If your arrangement isn’t working for any reason, remember that paternity actions can be modified or enforced if necessary. We are happy to discuss options for post-judgment modifications.