Whether a child’s parents are married at the time that the child comes into the world can have a lot of bearing on whether a man is considered a child’s presumptive father. For example, in many jurisdictions a marriage between the child’s parents that occurred before the child’s birth will create a legal presumption that the husband is the father of the wife’s child. When the parents are not married at the child’s birth then this presumption is not created.
After a child’s birth a Wisconsin man has several options for showing that he is a child’s father. He may voluntarily acknowledge that he is a child’s father and if the mother agrees they may execute a special form that creates a legal relationship between the child and man and paternal rights in the man to care for and provide for his child.
If a mother is uncertain of her child’s father’s identity she may be unwilling to legitimize one man’s claims to be the father. A man may have to go through paternity testing to show that he is genetically linked to her child. Paternity testing compares DNA from a child to that of a man to either prove or disprove that he is the child’s biological parent.
Being recognized as a father creates important legal rights and responsibilities for a man. If he desires to have a future relationship with his child, to have his child inherit from him and to be able to provide for his child as that child grows, a man should take the necessary steps to be legally recognized as the child’s true parent.