Establishing paternity means that the authorities are informed who the father of a given child is. The father is under obligation to pay child support to the child if he does not live together with the child´s mother. The child has right of inheritance from the father.
When a mother-to-be is married at the time of giving birth, her husband is automatically registered as her child’s father, unless they have separated or she has been married to another man within the 10 months preceding the birth of her child.
Declaration of Joint Care and Responsibility
If the father and the mother sign a Declaration of Joint Care and Responsibility, paternity will be acknowledged. The declaration should be submitted digitally to the parish register immediately after the child’s birth (within 14 days). The declaration can be found here (form in Danish). If the parents do not have NemID, they may print the form. Under this option, the declaration has to be signed by two witnesses or by a lawyer.
If for some particular reason, e.g. serious illness or posting abroad, the parents wish to submit the Declaration of Joint Care and Responsibility before the child is born, the declaration is to be sent to the State Administration. After child is born the joint declaration must in that case be presented at the parish register.
When in this way paternity has been acknowledged, this has similar effect as a court order, and therefore acknowledgement of paternity cannot be withdrawn. During the first 6 months following birth the father and the mother may, however, raise objections to the information registered.
If the father and the mother do not jointly submit a Care and Responsibility Declaration, the mother is required to inform the State Administration of the name of the father or the possible fathers within a month. The name of the father may be given already during pregnancy.
Acknowledgement of paternity
Paternity is considered to be established if the State Administration receives acknowledgement of paternity in writing from the man designated by the mother. The parties must themselves see to it that the father´s signature is certified by a lawyer or by two witnesses. This declaration may also be signed electronically (NemID).
When paternity has been acknowledged, this has similar binding effect as a court order, and therefore acknowledgement of paternity cannot be withdrawn.
In certain cases a man may file a paternity suit, if he believes he is the father of a given child although he is not married to the child´s mother.
If the woman refuses to state the name of the father
If a woman refuses to state the name of a possible father, she will be called in for an interview and guidance by the State Administration. If the mother continues to refuse, the case is referred to the courts of law.
If the man denies paternity
If the man pointed out by the mother denies paternity, the State Administration may decide whether biological proof is to be procured, e.g. through DNA testing.
If the State Administration cannot resolve the case, the State Administration will refer the case to the courts of law. The mother and the man or the men pointed out by the mother will have to appear in court and explain if and when they have had intercourse. Both the mother and the possible fathers are under obligation to testify, and if they do not turn up in court, they may be brought in by the police. The court may also decide that DNA testing is to be carried out.
If two women are cohabiting or married – and wish to have a child – the option exists for the woman who does not bear the child to become registered as the child’s co-mother.
The rules on co-motherhood mean that the co-mother of the child acquires the same rights and obligations to the child as the child’s father would have had.
A number of conditions must be met in order for a partner to register as a co-mother. For example, the couple need to agree to be mother and co-mother, and the pregnancy must be a result of assisted reproduction. Certain documents also need to be completed.
Please contact the State Administration for further information about the rules on co-motherhood.
If you live abroad and wish to bring a paternity suit
You are usually able to bring a paternity suit in Denmark if the father of your child lives in Denmark (whether permanently or temporarily).
If the paternity of the child has been determined in another country, it can usually be registered in Denmark. Please contact the municipality’s Citizen Service.
If you live abroad and wish to bring a paternity suit in Denmark, you will need to write to us. You are able to bring a paternity suit by writing a standard letter to the State Administration:
Statsforvaltningen (State Administration)
We can also be contacted by e-mail: email@example.com.
When you write to us to bring your paternity suit, please remember to state the following:
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Senest opdateret 8. feb 2017
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