Determination and denial of paternity

When a child is born during the marriage, the married partners automatically become the legal parents. This applies for marriages between a man and a woman, but also a marriage between two women. When children are born in a marriage situation, both parents also automatically acquire joint parental responsibility.

But what if children are being born out of wedlock?  In this situation a child can be recognised.

Recognizing a child

Recognising a child leads to a family-law relationship between parent and child. The person who recognizes the child will become the legal parent. This relationship involves rights and obligations, including a maintenance obligation, right to access/contact and claims under inheritance law.

The mother’s permission is needed for recognizing of a child. Recognition can already take place before the child is born. If the mother does not cooperate, her permission may be replaced by a court decision.

Please be aware of the fact that once a child has been recognised, it does not mean there is automatically joint parental responsibility (custody) with the mother. In order to receive this, both parents will have to submit an application, which will be entered in the public custody register. This form can be downloaded from

If the parent who has parental responsibility does not cooperate in this, the other parent has the possibility to go to court to ask the court to establish joint parental responsibility. The court will then decide what is in the best interest of the child.

Determination of paternity

When a child is born out of wedlock, the child only has a legal mother. The mother is liable to support her child. If the mother also wants the father or the non biological mother to contribute and the father or non biological mother (the ex-partner who conseeded in an act that has lead to the pregnancy) denies paternity, the paternity and the attending duty to support may be determined through legal proceedings. In such cases DNA tests are often required.

Denial of paternity

Paternity can be denied provided that the father is not the biological father. Paternity can not be denied in case the man was aware of the pregnancy before entering into the marriage or conseeded in an act that has lead to the pregnancy (for example artificial donor insemination). This article also applies for the non biological mother and children who are born in a marriage between two women.

As you can imagine every case is different and requires a specific approach. We advise and represent parents in all situation. If you have any questions about your own situation, you are welcome to contact us.