The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Wisconsin

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 891.405; 891.41

A person is presumed to be the natural other parent of a child if they and the child's birth parent have acknowledged parentage under § 69.15(3)(b) and no other person is presumed to be the other parent under § 891.41(1).

A person is presumed to be the natural other parent of a child if any of the following applies:

  • The person and the child's birth parent are or have been married to each other and the child is conceived or born after marriage and before the granting of a decree of legal separation, annulment, or divorce between the parties.
  • The person and the child's birth parent were married to each other after the child was born, but the person and the child's birth parent had a relationship with one another during the period of time within which the child was conceived and no other person has been adjudicated to be the child's other parent or presumed to be the child's other parent.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.025

Any person claiming to be the other parent of a nonmarital child who is not adopted, whose parents do not subsequently intermarry, and whose parentage has not been established may file with the Department of Children and Families a declaration of their interest in matters affecting the child.

A declaration may be filed at any time before a termination of the parent's parental rights. This paragraph does not apply to a declaration that is filed on or after July 1, 2006.

A declaration may be filed at any time before the birth of the child or within 14 days after the birth of the child, except that a person who receives a notice under § 48.42(1g)(b) may file a declaration within 21 days after the date on which the notice was mailed. This paragraph does not apply to a declaration filed before July 1, 2006.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 767.80; 767.805; 767.84

An action to determine the parentage of a child may be brought by the following persons:

  • The child
  • The child's birth parent
  • A person presumed or alleged to be the child's other parent
  • The personal representative of a person previously specified if that person has died
  • The legal or physical custodian of the child
  • The State
  • The child's guardian ad litem
  • A parent of the birth parent or other parent if they are liable or potentially liable for maintenance of a child of either parent

A statement acknowledging parentage that is on file with the State registrar under § 69.15(3)(b)3 after the last day on which a person may rescind the statement in a timely manner is a conclusive determination that shall have the same effect as a judgment of parentage.

The court shall require the child, birth parent, any person for whom there is probable cause to believe that the person and the birth parent had sexual intercourse during a possible time of the child's conception, or any person who testifies or will testify about their sexual relations with the birth parent at a possible time of conception to submit to genetic tests. If the results of the genetic tests show that the alleged other parent father is not excluded and that the statistical probability of the alleged other parent's parentage is 99 percent or higher, the alleged other parent shall be rebuttably presumed to be the child's genetic parent. Genetic test results excluding an alleged other parent as the child's genetic parent are conclusive evidence of nonparentage, and the court shall dismiss any parentage action with respect to that alleged other parent. Genetic test results excluding any person from possible parentage are conclusive evidence of nonparentage of the person.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.025

The declaration shall be in writing, shall be signed and verified upon oath or affirmation by the person filing the declaration, and shall contain the following:

  • The person's name and address
  • The name and last known address of the birth parent
  • The month and year of the birth or expected birth of the child
  • A statement that the person filing the declaration has reason to believe that they may be the genetic parent of the child

If the person filing the declaration is younger than age 18, the declaration also shall be signed by a parent or guardian of the person.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.025; 69.15(3m); 767.805

A person who has filed a declaration with the department may revoke the declaration at any time by filing a statement with the department, signed and verified upon oath or affirmation that the person, to the best of their knowledge and belief, is not the other parent of the child or that another person has been adjudicated as the other parent of the child. If the person filing the revocation is younger than age 18, the revocation also shall be signed by a parent or guardian of the person.

A statement acknowledging parentage that is filed with the State registrar may be rescinded by either person who signed the statement as a parent of the registrant if all the following apply:

  • The statement was signed and filed on or after April 1, 1998.
  • The person rescinding the statement files with the State registrar a document prescribed by the State registrar for rescinding a statement acknowledging parentage.
  • The person rescinding the statement files the document before the day on which a court makes an order in an action affecting the family involving the person who signed the statement and the child who is the subject of the statement, or before 60 days elapse after the statement was filed, whichever occurs first.

A determination of parentage may be voided at any time upon a motion or petition stating facts that show fraud, duress, or a mistake of fact. Except for good cause shown, any court orders regarding the child's custody or support shall remain in effect during the pendency of a proceeding under this paragraph.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.025

The department shall keep confidential and may not open to public inspection or disclose the contents of any declaration except as provided below, or by order of the court, for good cause shown.

A copy of a declaration filed with the department shall be sent to the birth parent at their last known address. Nonreceipt of such copy shall not affect the validity of the declaration. The birth parent may send a written response to the declaration to the department, and the written response shall be filed with the declaration. Failure to send a written response shall not constitute an admission of the statements contained in the declaration.

A court of this or another State may request the department to search its files to determine whether a person who may be the other parent of the child who is the subject of the proceeding has filed a declaration.