Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment
Wisconsin hospitals, midwives, medical clinics, tribal enrollment offices and local vital records offices have received training and have been authorized to work with the Bureau of Child Support, local child support agencies, and the Office of Vital Records to help unmarried parents establish paternity for their children.
The Wisconsin Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form allows parents to establish paternity without having to go to court. A signed and notarized Wisconsin Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form filed with the Office of Vital Records fully establishes legal paternity. The father's name is then added to the birth certificate.
Please Note: Filing the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form with the Office of Vital Records alone does not create a child support order. However, it does allow a court to order child support. If the couple are not absolutely sure the man is the father of the child, they should not sign the form. The couple should be referred to their child support agency for genetic testing.
Filing the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form does not give a father legal custody or physical placement. Under Wisconsin law, an unmarried mother has sole legal custody until a court orders otherwise. If the father and mother cannot agree on custody and placement, the father will need to get a court order. Parents can discuss custody and placement issues with their county’s or tribe's family court counseling service.
Resources for Birth Hospitals and Midwives
- Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Training Handbook
- Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Training Video
- The Benefits of Establishing Paternity
- The Three Ways to Establish Paternity
- The Power of Two Video for Parents in English and Spanish (Windows Media Player required)
- Notary Public Information
- Questions Parents Ask about Establishing Paternity
Paternity Acknowledgment forms and instructional DVDs for staff and for parents are available only to authorized agencies. Child support publications are available to the public. All items are free of charge. To ensure you have the most recent materials available, we recommend that you limit your order to a six-month supply.
Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Forms
Authorized agencies may order the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment, Request to Withdraw Paternity Acknowledgment, and Acknowledgment of Marital child forms from the State Vital Records Office.
Authorized agencies who need copies of the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement Training DVD for staff or The Power of Two DVD for parents should contact the Bureau of Child Support's Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Coordinator.
Child Support Publications
Wisconsin Child Support booklets and brochures describing paternity, voluntary paternity acknowledgment, and child support services for mothers and fathers are available in English, Spanish, and Hmong.
To order child support publications, including the To New Mom and Dads folders, visit this page: Ordering Child Support Booklets, Brochures, & Forms. To print one or two copies on your local printer, visit this page: Printing Child Support Booklets, Brochures, & Forms.
We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. Child support issues affect many lives. The federal Department of Health and Human Services estimates that one in four citizens is involved with a child support case.
Contact Information - Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment
Authorized agencies with questions about the legal process of voluntary paternity acknowledgment may contact their local child support agency or the Bureau of Child Support's Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment Coordinator at:
- Mail: PO Box 7935, Madison, WI, 53707-7935
- Phone: 608-266-9909
- Fax: 608-267-2824
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Authorized agencies with questions about the mechanics of completing and filing the Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment form or related forms may contact the State of Wisconsin Office of Vital Records at:
- Mail: PO Box 309, Madison, WI, 53701-0309
- Phone: 608-266-1373
- Email: DHSVitalRecords@wisconsin.gov