If you have children outside of marriage and your child’s other parent is preventing you from seeing your child, you need to establish paternity in order to assert your rights. In Wisconsin, this process is called adjudication of paternity.

Because your children are important to you, it is vital that you seek the guidance of a lawyer to help you correctly navigate this complex and confusing process. At Murphy Johnson & Trampe S.C., we have helped numerous clients establish paternity and show the court why it was in the best interests of the children to allow them to spend time with that parent.

Establish Parental Rights


Establishing paternity is especially important for issues involving:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Child placement
  • Health insurance
  • Tax exemption
  • Birth expenses

It is important to establish Paternity in cases where parents are not married, if the parents are separating and they would like the Court to establish Custody, Placement, and Child Support Orders. The state of Wisconsin may also initiate a Paternity action when one or both parents receive state aid. The parents, or the state of Wisconsin, may initiate an action while the parties are still residing together as well to establish custody and placement agreements.

Initiating Paternity Action

Post Judgment

There are several ways to establish paternity:

  1. The father signs a voluntary paternity acknowledgment (usually at the hospital after birth of the child). This form can also be obtained online. Paternity acknowledgment should not be taken lightly. If you have concerns regarding this step please contact one of our attorneys.

  2. Either parent may Petition to establish paternity. The parties may then file a stipulation consenting to paternity (acknowledgment will do as well) or the Court will hold a hearing to establish paternity and will request that the alleged father take a paternity test.

Once paternity is adjudicated the parties will have a post-judgment hearing to establish the following:

  • Custody
  • Placement
  • Child support.

Please review these issues within our divorce page as the issues are dealt with in the same manner in Paternity actions.

Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement


In Wisconsin, there is a unique form called a voluntary paternity acknowledgement (VPA) that you can sign to establish paternity. This form can be signed at the hospital shortly after the birth of a child, and both the mother and father must sign it. When this happens, you are considered the child’s legal father. If you do not sign a VPA and paternity questions arise later, you must go through the complicated and expensive genetic testing process. Contact us to speak with an experienced attorney about whether you should sign a VPA, or if you have paternity issues that will require you to obtain genetic test results.

If you are having difficulty with a spouse or opposing party not following Court Orders, you may have cause to file a Motion for Contempt. A Contempt Motion may be utilized to assist an individual in getting compliance with Court Ordered child support, placement, maintenance, etc. Navigating Contempt filings can be difficult and scary. If you would like to discuss your concerns regarding filing for Contempt or defending yourself from a Contempt filing please contact our office for a thirty minute free consultation.

Murphy Johnson and Trampe S.C., has extensive experience in family law. We provide a combination of deep industry knowledge and personal experiences to meet the individual needs of each client.

Meet our Attorneys

Family Law Attorney Philip Z Trampe
Phillip Z. Trampe


Matthew P. Johnson


James R. Joling


Jillian E. Clausen


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    Professional family law help for every client

    The attorneys at Murphy Johnson & Trampe S.C. have successfully represented thousands of family law clients throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Based on our results, we have obtained a strong reputation in the legal community.

    We regularly handle matters in areas such as Racine, Lake Geneva, Williams Bay, Fontana, Delavan, East Troy, Burlington,Whitewater, Twin Lakes, Kenosha, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Brookfield and Mukwonago, as well as other communities throughout Racine County, Kenosha County, Waukesha County, Milwaukee County, and Walworth County, Wisconsin.