Wisconsin law offers genetic testing to prove paternity

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:16 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 10:36 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - NBC15 Investigates what it takes to prove paternity outside of marriage in Wisconsin.

It can happen in court, or through a voluntary acknowledgement by the mother and father.

However, there is a third option. A Wisconsin law was approved in Feb. 2020 and took effect in August. It allows genetic testing to prove paternity.

The process begins with a subpoena or direct order from the county’s Child Support Agency. The child, mother and father swab their cheeks for a DNA testing.

If the test results show a 99% or greater match, the state considers that a conclusive determination of paternity.

Knowing who the child’s father is allows the state to establish child support payments, placement, custody, and puts the father’s name on the birth certificate.

A test with 99% or greater DNA match constitutes proof of paternity.
A test with 99% or greater DNA match constitutes proof of paternity.(Dept. of Children and Families)

This new option takes away court proceedings entirely, unless one of the parents disagrees with the test results.

“In many cases the parents just want to be the parents of the child and having a process server come and serve you with a (court) summons and petition is very intimidating, this process is all done administratively,” Connie Chesnik, Admin. Of the Division of Family and Economic Security at the Dept. of Children and Families said.

Chesnik added that this genetic testing option is in the best interest of the child, since this determines the birth father is early-on in life, rather than finding out later, when it could come as a surprise.

“The state cannot order proof of paternity after a child turns 18. however, the 18-year-old can seek out a genetic test to find their birth father on their own.

This is a local follow up to a National InvestigateTV story, ‘A Vial Mistake.’ You can watch the story below.

A Vial Mistake

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