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 pregnancy.

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 acknowledged after the child is born, the father will be the child’s other guardian if the parents so agree. 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 investigation

If a man doubts his fatherhood or there are several potential fathers, paternity is confirmed with a forensic genetic paternity test. Samples of the mother, child and man/men are needed for the test. The test sample may be taken during a visit to the child supervisor.

Confirming paternity at a later stage

For a child under the age of 15, investigating paternity is the responsibility of the child supervisor in the place of residence of the child’s mother. 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.