2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 48. Children's code.
48.025 Declaration of paternal interest in matters affecting children.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 48.025 (2017)

48.025 Declaration of paternal interest in matters affecting children.

(1) Any person claiming to be the father of a nonmarital child who is not adopted or whose parents do not subsequently intermarry under s. 767.803 and whose paternity has not been established may, in accordance with procedures under this section, file with the department a declaration of his interest in matters affecting the child. The department may not charge a fee for filing a declaration under this section.

(2)

(a) A declaration under sub. (1) may be filed at any time before a termination of the father's parental rights under subch. VIII. This paragraph does not apply to a declaration that is filed on or after July 1, 2006.

(b) A declaration under sub. (1) may be filed at any time before the birth of the child or within 14 days after the birth of the child, except that a man who receives a notice under s. 48.42 (1g) (b) may file a declaration within 21 days after the date on which the notice was mailed. This paragraph does not apply to a declaration filed before July 1, 2006.

(c) The declaration shall be in writing, shall be signed and verified upon oath or affirmation by the person filing the declaration, and shall contain the person's name and address, the name and last-known address of the mother, the month and year of the birth or expected birth of the child, and a statement that the person filing the declaration has reason to believe that he may be the father of the child. If the person filing the declaration is under 18 years of age, the declaration shall also be signed by a parent or guardian of the person.

(d) A person who has filed a declaration under sub. (1) may revoke the declaration at any time by filing with the department a statement, signed and verified upon oath or affirmation, that the person, to the best of his knowledge and belief, is not the father of the child or that another person has been adjudicated as the father of the child. If the person filing the revocation is under 18 years of age, the revocation shall also be signed by a parent or guardian of the person.

(3)

(a) The department shall keep confidential and may not open to public inspection or disclose the contents of any declaration, revocation of a declaration, or response to a declaration filed under this section, except as provided under pars. (b) and (c) or by order of the court for good cause shown.

(b) A copy of a declaration filed with the department under sub. (1) shall be sent to the mother at her last-known address. Nonreceipt of such copy shall not affect the validity of the declaration. The mother may send a written response to the declaration to the department, and the written response shall be filed with the declaration. Failure to send a written response shall not constitute an admission of the statements contained in the declaration.

(c) A court in a proceeding under s. 48.13, 48.133, 48.14, or 938.13 or under a substantially similar law of another state or a person authorized to file a petition under s. 48.25, 48.42, 48.837, or 938.25 or under a substantially similar law of another state may request the department to search its files to determine whether a person who may be the father of the child who is the subject of the proceeding has filed a declaration under this section. If the department has on file a declaration of paternal interest in matters affecting the child, the department shall issue to the requester a copy of the declaration. If the department does not have on file a declaration of paternal interest in matters affecting the child, the department shall issue to the requester a statement that no declaration could be located. The department may require a person who requests a search under this paragraph to pay a reasonable fee that is sufficient to defray the costs to the department of maintaining its file of declarations and publicizing information relating to declarations of paternal interest under this section.

(d) Any person who obtains any information under this subsection may use or disclose that information only for the purposes of a proceeding under s. 48.13, 48.133, 48.14, or 938.13 or under a substantially similar law of another state and may not use or disclose that information for any other purpose except by order of the court for good cause shown.

(4) Filing a declaration under this section shall not extend parental rights to the person filing such declaration.

(5)

(a) The department shall publicize, in a manner calculated to provide maximum notice to all persons who might claim to be the father of a nonmarital child, all of the following information:

1. That a person claiming to be the father of a nonmarital child may affirmatively protect his parental rights by filing a declaration of interest under this section.

2. The procedures for filing a declaration of interest.

3. The consequences of filing a declaration of interest.

4. The consequences of not filing a declaration of interest.

(b) The department may publicize the information under par. (a) by posting the information on the Internet, by creating a pamphlet for use by schools and health care providers, and by requiring agencies that provide services under contract with the department to provide the information to clients.

(6)

(a) Any person who makes a false statement in a declaration, revocation of a declaration, or response to a declaration filed under this section that the person does not believe is true is subject to prosecution for false swearing under s. 946.32 (2).

(b) Except as permitted under sub. (3), any person who intentionally obtains, uses, or discloses information that is confidential under this section may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days or both.

History: 1973 c. 263; 1979 c. 330; 1981 c. 359; 1983 a. 447; 2005 a. 293; 2005 a. 443 s. 265.

The constitutional rights of a putative father to establish his parentage and assert parental rights. 58 MLR 175.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Wisconsin may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.