Paternity Lawyers

Father's Responsibilities and Rights

Southeastern Wisconsin family law firm

Depending on the situation, paternity issues can work to the advantage or disadvantage of either parent. For example, if a father has not been established as the legal father, he has no custodial or placement (visitation) rights. However, he also has no obligation to pay child support.

Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and his children when he is not married to the mother. It affects all legal aspects of that relationship, including child support as well as child custody and placement (visitation).

Establishing paternity

Paternity can be established in different ways:

  • If the couple is married at the time the child is born, the husband is legally assumed to be the father.
  • If the couple is not married, the father can complete and submit a voluntary paternity acknowledgment form.
  • If the father denies or has doubts that the child is his, the court can order mandatory genetic testing. If there is any doubt regarding paternity, genetic testing is always a good idea.

Benefits of establishing paternity

Paternity confers rights and obligations upon the father and the child. Once paternity is established either parent can petition for custody and placement (visitation). If joint legal custody is awarded, the father will be able to participate in decisions about the child’s education, religion and health.

Paternity also creates obligations for both parents. Either parent can ask the court to order child support, to include the child on his/her health insurance plan and to pay expenses for the child such as medical bills, child care or birth expenses.

After paternity has been established, a child can also inherit from the father.

At Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC, we practice family law exclusively and are highly experienced with paternity issues. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us at (414) 939-0529.

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