What is the new way to establish paternity in Wisconsin?

by | Dec 3, 2020 | Family Law |

On August 20, 2020, Wisconsin established a new way to establish paternity for a child: administrative paternity.

With administrative paternity, you can establish paternity for your child without ever stepping into a courtroom. Seeking administrative paternity is meant to be more confidential, less adversarial and take less time than establishing fatherhood for a child through a court ruling.

How the administrative paternity process works

When a mother applies for child support in Wisconsin, she can ask the state to send DNA tests to her and the child’s assumed father if he is not on the birth certificate. The assumed father also can seek the administrative paternity through the Child Support Agencies (CSA).

The CSA then conducts a paternity interview and sends DNA tests to the mother and assumed father with an administrative subpoena. When the DNA tests are returned, if the tests show that the assumed father has a 99% or higher probability of being the child’s father, the state recognizes the child’s paternity.

Trying to establish legal paternity through court can take months because you have to go through two court hearings: one to request DNA testing and one to establish paternity after DNA testing.

What happens when you establish your paternal rights

Once you establish your paternal rights, you will have to pay child support. You also can seek custody rights for your child and add your child to your health insurance policy. If you are in the military, your child will be eligible for your military benefits. Another advantage of establishing paternal rights is that the state recognizes your child as your legal heir if you pass away suddenly.

If you believe you are the father of a child and want to gain paternal rights for your child, you should review your options for establishing paternity. The wise option might be to pursue administrative paternity.


FindLaw Network