Until recently, Wisconsin parents seeking to establish the legal paternity of a child could do so in one of three ways. Two of those methods, a Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment and an Acknowledgment of Marital Child, require the consent of both parents, which is not easy to obtain when the parents are in disagreement. The third method, petitioning for a court hearing, can help to resolve disagreements between parents, but it may come with a significant investment of time and money on the part of the parties to the case.
However, since August 2020, a new method known as Conclusive Determination of Paternity can help parents resolve paternity cases without requiring the extensive involvement of the court. If you are an unmarried or alleged parent, it is a good idea to learn about the process of conclusive determination to understand how it could affect your case.
What Is the Process for a Conclusive Determination of Paternity?
The process of establishing paternity by conclusive determination is handled through the child support agency in the county with jurisdiction over the case. The agency itself may initiate the proceedings if it has reason to believe that a man may be a child’s father, or the process can be initiated at the request of a child’s mother or alleged father. In order to determine paternity, the child support agency has the authority to order genetic testing of the mother, the alleged father, and child.
If all three parties submit to the genetic test, the child support agency will review the results to determine the probability that the man who was tested is the child’s biological father. If the results indicate a 99 percent probability or higher regarding the man’s parentage, the agency will submit the test results to the Wisconsin state registrar, upon which legal paternity can be established with no further court intervention.
However, there are circumstances in which further action may be required. For example, if the mother or alleged father is a minor under the age of 18, or if another man is legally presumed to be the child’s father, a conclusive determination of paternity by genetic testing cannot go into effect. Additionally, the child’s mother and alleged father both have the opportunity to object in writing to the results of the genetic test within 15 days of receiving them, in which case the question of paternity will need to be resolved in court.
Contact a Milwaukee County Paternity Lawyer
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we know how important establishing legal paternity can be in order to secure child support and custody rights. Whether you are in the process of a conclusive determination by genetic testing, or you are attempting a different method, our experienced Waukesha County family law attorneys can offer valuable legal advice and representation. Contact us for a free consultation today at 414-271-1440.