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A Decade of Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgment in Wisconsin: 1997–2007

IRP updated a 2003 report on the implications of voluntary paternity acknowledgment for children born in calendar years 2000 and 2001. Researchers examine the longer-term implications of voluntary paternity establishment on child support orders, child support payments, and financial security of children over a 5- to 7-year period, comparing voluntary acknowledgment with adjudicated cases. They also compare longer-term physical placement outcomes for voluntary- and involuntary-paternity children. The primary data sources for this report are KIDS and information from the three most recent CRD cohorts. These cases were merged with CARES for receipt of government assistance, and UI wage record data for parental employment and income information.

Voluntary paternity acknowledgement has been advocated as a means of promoting paternal involvement in the lives of nonmarital children, both for their children’s financial security and for other social benefits. These analyses allow us to estimate, in the longer term, the degree to which voluntary paternity acknowledgment has led to greater compliance with child support orders and greater participation in children’s lives as they age, through physical placement arrangements.


Child Support, Child Support Policy Research, Custody & Placement, Orders & Payments, Paternity Establishment, WI Administrative Data Core