father is not on the birth certificate and pays no child support, never holds a job for more than a few months, and is not involved in my life, but he sometimes threatens to try to get custody, I just want to make sure I always have full custody
Since your baby was born out of wedlock, the (alleged) father has no legal rights towards the baby until paternity is established. This can be done one of two ways; (a) by both of you consenting to a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or (b) by one you filing an actual paternity case at the court house and going through DNA testing to establish whether he is, or not, the biological father. Once it is legally established that he is the biological father, the court will hold what is called a "terms hearing" to deal with all of the other issues in your case that affect the child, such as custody, placement, child support, health insurance, birthing expenses, uninsured medical bills, the tax dependency exemption and any other issues that may be unique to your case. You referred to "sole custody" in your question, but "custody" refers to decision making, not placement of the child. Joint custody (equal decision making) has been the law in this state since 1987, and absent domestic violence issues, you can probably expect the court is going to award joint custody (joint decision making) to both of you. The larger question is placement of the child. Since you have a baby at home, the court is going to treat the baby differently than they might a toddler or a teenager. The court will most likely be sensitive to the needs of the baby and recognize that it is not good for the baby to be away from you for long periods of time. More likely than not, dad's initial placement with the baby will be limited with perhaps short day time visits only. At some point, as the baby matures, dad may be allowed his own overnight placement. While I cannot offer you an exact time table for that happening nor is it spelled out specifically in the law, you might expect that to occur somewhere around the child turning one year old to 18 months. Much of it may depend on what your prior relationship was and the maturity level of both of you. The real test and ultimate goal is what is in the baby's best interest, not what is best for you or best for the dad. Recognizing that the needs of a baby are unique (such as you may be breast feeding), I would expect the court setting a fairly limited visitation schedule at the beginning stages of your case, when the father may be allowed to spend time alone for his visitation time with the baby.
You should be aware the current legal custody status of the child you describe is that of sole legal custody to the mother, since the child was born out of wedlock. The prior responding attorney is mostly correct, though I would argue (and have successfully done so in multiple states since a seminal decision by the US Supreme Court in 2001), the biological father does have rights of a putative father; in other words, the man who makes the appropriate allegations in a paternity action has standing, and he therefore has the right to obtain a genetic test (material from the child and mother, through order of the court of appropriate jurisdiction), and can conclusively be able to determine if he is the biological father of the child. At that point a number of addition possibilities present themselves, and in each state they are different, though in Wisconsin he may indeed be granted temporary custody and placement rights pending an initial legal custody determination order, and a full consideration of the "best interest" of the minor child. To advise you further on this public forum would be inappropriate (for a number or reasons), though I do have a detailed Legal Guide (http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/children-born-out-of-wedlock-in-wisconsin-paternity-the-facts-re-child-support-parental-rights) you may find extremely enlightening. I strongly suggest you seek the confidential advise and assistance of a Wisconsin licensed attorney with experience and success in paternity matters before proceeding. Good luck.
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I agree with the other posters. It is up to the father to file a paternity motion to secure his parental rights. However, if you receive any type of public assistance, the state agency will eventually file a petition to establish his fatherhood so child support can be collected. At that point, I recommend that you consult with a child custody lawyer.
This submission is not, nor is it intended as, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer to address your legal issue.
Assuming you and father are not married, then father has no legal rights until he is found to be the father in a court proceeding. Likewise, he has no financial obligation to support the child either. Lots of threats when there is an estranged relationship and a child involved. Contact a lawyer and find out your legal rights and the rights of the father. It is an interested area of law with lots of nuances.
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