Can I reopen a paternity case in Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. Can I reopen a paternity case in Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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 – from Terry M. in Brown Deer, WI

Question Details:

This may seem like an odd question, however, I have to ask. I was found to be the father to a woman’s daughter in the early 70’s, by a jury. I was ordered to pay child support for the next 18 years for a child that was not mine. I have never had visitations, nor did I want them. I was married in the 80’s, and found out that I am infertile. Therefore, I have never fathered a child. Can I reopen the case to prove that I am not the father?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Unfortunately, no. This is for many different reasons. One reason is cited in the case of State ex rel. R.A.S. v. J.M., 114 Wis. 2d 305, 338 N.W.2d 851 (Ct. App. 1983). In this case, a man was found to be a father by jury before blood testing was a viable method for paternity testing.

After 10 years, he wanted to reopen the case due to a contempt sentencing for failure to pay the ordered amount of support. He was denied based on the fact that it would be too costly to the courts to reopen every established case before modern testing, and give all trials such as these perpetual life.

However, I would still suggest contacting a family law attorney to discuss the details of your situation. I have a few questions, what ever happened to the daughter of the woman? Did she ever have a positive male role model in her life? Does she still believe you to be her father? It’s just my opinion, but maybe even after all these years you should try to find out. Sometimes it’s not about what is technically correct, but what is morally right.


Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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