Establishing paternity means that the name of the father of a child is registered with the authorities. The father is under obligation to pay child support to the child if he does not live with the child’s mother. The child has the right to inherit his/her father.
When a mother-to-be is married at the time of the birth of her child, her husband is automatically registered as the child’s father, unless they have separated or she was 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 is born (within 14 days). The declaration can be downloaded here (form in Danish). If the parents do not have NemID, they can print out the form. If they print out the form, the declaration has to be signed by two witnesses or by a lawyer.
If for some 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 must be sent to the State Administration. After the child is born, the joint declaration must be submitted to the parish register.
When paternity has been acknowledged in this way, it is similar to a court order, and therefore acknowledgement of paternity cannot be withdrawn. During the first six months following the birth, the father and the mother may, however, raise objections to the registered information.
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 one month. The name of the father may be provided already during pregnancy.
Acknowledgement of paternity
Paternity is considered to have been established if the State Administration receives acknowledgement of paternity in writing from the man identified by the mother. The parties must themselves ensure 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acknowledged, this has a binding effect similar to a court order, and therefore acknowledgement of paternity cannot be withdrawn.
In certain cases, a man may file a paternity suit, if he believes that he is the father of a 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 with the State Administration. If the mother continues to refuse, the case will be referred to the courts.
If the man denies paternity
If the man identified by the mother as the father denies paternity, the State Administration may decide whether biological proof is required, e.g. DNA testing.
If the State Administration cannot resolve the case, the State Administration will refer the case to the courts. The mother and the man or the men identified by the mother will have to appear in court and explain if and when they had sexual intercourse. Both the mother and the possible fathers are under obligation to testify, and if they do not attend court, they may be forcibly brought in by the police. The court may also decide that DNA testing is required.
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).
You cannot bring a paternity suit in Denmark if the paternity of the child has already been determined in another country.
If the paternity of the child has been determined in another country, it can usually be registered in Denmark. Please contact the local authority’s Citizen Service.
How do you bring a paternity suit in Denmark, and what information is required?
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:
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.
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Senest opdateret 14. mar 2017
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