Paternity Recognition in Germany

German Family Lawyers

Paternity Recognition in Germany

German Family Lawyers

Acknowledgements of paternity are no longer a rarity today. Whether concerning contact and custody rights or maintenance obligations – such a step always has considerable consequences, including those of an inheritance nature. Comprehensive legal advice is strongly recommended in advance to clarify your rights and responsibilities.

Schlun & Eleven Rechtsanwälte offers comprehensive support in all family law matters. Our lawyers have excellent expertise and the necessary empathy to make this emotionally demanding situation as pleasant as possible for you and to ensure that the recognition procedure runs smoothly.

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Legal Assistance in German Family Law

Recognition of Paternity
  • Clarification of all legal questions concerning the recognition of paternity

  • Notarial certification of paternity

  • Representation in the recognition proceedings

Why Acknowledge Paternity?

While a mother is legally defined as the woman who gave birth to the child (see § 1591 BGB / German Civil Code), declaring the paternity of a German child is somewhat more complex. Generally, the man married to the child’s mother at the time of birth is regarded as the father (see § 1592 no. 1 German Civil Code). This will also be the case if the child was born through artificial insemination or sperm donation. In these cases, an acknowledgement of paternity is not necessary. However, if an unmarried woman gives birth, the paternity may be unclear. In this case, the man concerned can acknowledge paternity. Thus, recognition of paternity is of particular interest to unmarried couples since the legal presumption mentioned above does not apply. Instead, paternity needs to be officially acknowledged. The mother’s consent is required.

Declaring the fathership of a German child also becomes a significant issue in the case of divorcing couples. The law assumes the man married to the mother at the time of birth is the child’s father; for divorced couples, this presumption can exist depending on when the conception took place. However, an exception exists in the event of another man successfully challenging the paternity of the child in question. Recognition of paternity can also be brought to the fore in cases where a child is born, and the father dies before its birth.

The Paternity Recognition Procedure in Germany

While recognition at the youth welfare office is free of charge, costs may be incurred at the regi