Establishing paternity

If a child's parents are not married at the moment of the child's birth, the mother is registered as the only parent.

Acknowledging paternity at maternity clinic during pregnancy

You can acknowledge paternity at a maternity clinic only during pregnancy. After the child's birth, paternity is acknowledged at an appointment with a child welfare officer. Read more about acknowledging paternity at maternity clinic during pregnancypdf, 223 kb.

Acknowledging paternity at child welfare office

How is paternity established?

  • The child's mother is sent a letter that instructs the parents to make an appointment with a child welfare officer.
  • The child welfare officer receives the acknowledgement of paternity and compiles the required documents.
  • Paternity is confirmed at a Registry Office.

How acknowledging paternity benefits the child?

  • The child's relationship with the father is established and the child has the right to inherit from the father.
  • The child can also be given the father's family name.
  • The child is entitled to child maintenance paid by the father.
  • The child is entitled to potential family pensions as regards the father.
  • The father becomes the child's other guardian, if the parents so agree.

After confirmation of paternity, the child's register data show the information of both parents; likewise, the child's information will be updated in the father's register data.

If paternity is not established by voluntary acknowledgement, the child welfare officer can—after negotiating with the mother and if the mother so wishes—file a suit for confirming paternity at a district court.

Paternity test

If a man doubts his paternity or if there are several potential fathers, paternity will be established by means of a paternity test (DNA test). Samples are required from the mother, the child and man/men. As a general rule, child welfare officers give referrals to paternity tests.

Objection to establishing paternity

If the mother objects to establishing paternity, she may decline it during an appointment with a child welfare officer. The child welfare officer shall make the consequences of not establishing paternity very clear to the mother. When a child is born out of wedlock and the potential father wants to investigate whether he is or is not the father, establishing paternity can be done despite the mother's objection.

Confirming paternity at a later stage

If a child's paternity remains unestablished, the mother, potential farther, or child aged 15 or over can re-initiate establishment of paternity at any time by contacting a child welfare officer.