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When 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.

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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.

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.

Initiating a Paternity Action- Pre 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.

Post Judgment

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 links as the issues are dealt with in the same manner in Paternity actions.


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.

Call for a Free Consultation

Racine Divorce Attorneys


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.

Philip Z. Trampe

Partner and Shareholder

Matthew P. Johnson

Partner and Shareholder

James R. Joling

Associate Attorney

Amber M. Ragonese

Associate Attorney

Read what our clients are saying!

When I first went to Phillip at my free visit, he was very compassionate and listened to everything I said. My request was an unusual one, I wanted to be allowed to see my grandson. Phil fought very hard to make that happen & now I get to see my grandson every month. I would recommend Phil to anyone that was having the issues that I was having. Thanks you so much Phil

Grandparent rights ,

I met Phil in the March of 2014 when I went for the free consultation about filling for a divorce. From the first meeting and throughout the entire divorce process he was very honest, friendly, always available to answer any of my questions or concerns. He fought for my benefits every step of the way , him and his staff were always there to take my calls , give advice and encouragement when I needed it. I would recommend his services to everyone who is looking for a fair, knowledgeable, professional and successful legal services

Divorce ,

While Mr. Trampe was not my attorney and he was my significant others, I have to say that if anyone is looking for a highly intelligent, aggressive lawyer for their custody case, Mr. Trampe, will make sure you win. He was very knowledgeable and would leave no stone un-turned for his client. He was more than fair in dealing with my attorney when my partner and I decided to settle the matter between us with the help of our attorneys. If any man is in need of help with a custody matter with their child/children I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HIM. He will fight for you until you get the results you are looking for. Thank you, Mr. Trampe, Heather

Child placement ,