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Thomas Grosse

Civil Law Notary
D-45355 Essen-Borbeck

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Acknowledgment of Paternity with Mother's consent and Declaration of Parental Custody / Child's Name

Acknowledgment of Paternity

Diese Seite auf deutsch. Questo sito in italiano.

If a child is born whose parents are not married, the paternity must be stated. Either by a lawsuit against the father, if necessary with a parentage opinion, or by notarized acknowledgment of paternity. This acknowledgment I can notarize for you in a bilingual version, in English to be read to you and in German for the use of the German authorities. German/Italian is possible as well. For other languages you must bring an interpreter, who is no kin to one of the parties.

You should consider first if the notarization can be made by the Jugendamt (youth welfare service) or the Standesamt (registrar's office). They must do it free from fees. But both authorities trend to tell you that the nearest possible appointment can be made months in the future, and that you can notarize as well at a Notary's office. What they don't tell you is, that the notarization by a Civil Law Notary causes a fee you have to pay instantly in cash. Nor they tell you that the acknowledment of paternity is possible before every German registrar or youth welfare service. Try smaller cities in the vicinity, they allegedly offer short-term appointments.

The acknowledgment of paternity becomes effective only with the mother's consent. Notarizing both declarations in the same document is easier, so come jointly. What we don't need for the notarization is: the child. To save time, I suggest you to send me in advance by email the required details (or send copies of your documents):

If you want to, you can - and the most parents do - declare within the document, that you wish to take on parental custody jointly. If you don't, the father has no rights in so far.

If you have decided on joint parental care, you can furthermore determine as the child's name the name of the father. Otherwise the child keeps/gets the family name of the mother.

After the notarization, both parents have the right and the obligation to provide care for the minor child, which includes both the provision of personal care and the provision of funds and both parents will jointly represent the child. The joint parental custody can only be terminated in exceptional cases at the request of one of the parties, during a not only temporary separation, by the family court. Furthermore, you are instructed on the consequences of the recognition of paternity in relation to the kinship as well as the maintenance and inheritance law.

The acknowledment is possible yet before the child is born. In this case, you must inform me of the place of birth and the given name(s) of the child immediately after birth, for I must send certified copies of the documents to the youth welfare service and the registrar; locally competent are the authorities at the place of birth.

Notary's fee in cash: Paternity acknowledment and consent: none, just the lump sum for expenses of € 20.35, in English and German € 51.41; with declaration of parental custody in German: € 95.56 / in English and German: € 113.88; with declaration of parental custody and determination of the child's name in German: € 115.55 / in English and German: € 141.73.

Parents from abroad

Informations above initially concern German law and German parents. If at least one parent has a different nationality, he always passes this onto the child, so that the foreign law has to be observed. While in Germany applies: "mother of a child is the woman who has born it" (§ 1591 BGB), other legal systems know a recognition of motherhood, if the parents are not married. In Europe, these are still France (Article 334-8 (1) of the Code Civile) and Italy (Article 250 (1) of the Codice Civile), as well as various Latin American and Far Eastern countries. If you are a citizen from there, you should try to clarify this question with your embassy/consulate. In case of doubt, the mother should recognize her motherhood: If this was not necessary, it does not hurt, but if there is no required recognition, it may happen that the mother has no rights to the child.

Prohibition of abusive acknowledgment of paternity

A modification of law has entered into force on July 29, 2017. Now the Notary must inquire the details as below, and, when indicated, stay the proceedings and ask the immigration authorities. Think about whether or not you are affected.

In my document therefore you will typically affirm, if one of the parents is citizen of a secure state of origin:

Both parents affirm for themselves and the child: There is no enforceable departure obligation, no application for asylum is filed, we keep a joint household and the father never acknowledged another paternity.

If you cannot sign this, please ask the immigration authorities first.

sec. 1597a BGB (German Civil Code)

(1) Paternity must not be specifically acknowledged for the purpose of creating the legal conditions for the permitted entry or the permitted residence of the child, the acknowledging or the mother, nor to satisfy the legal requirements for the permitted entry or the permitted stay of the child by the acquisition of the German nationality of the child pursuant to art. 4 para. 1 or para. 3 s. 1 of the Nationality Law Act (abusive acknowledgment of paternity).

(2) If there are concrete indications for an abusive acknowledgment of paternity, the notarizing authority or the notarizing person must notify the authority competent under sec. 85a of the Residence Act, after hearing the acknowledging person and the mother, and suspend the notarization. An indication of the existence of concrete evidence is in particular:
1. The existence of a compulsory departure from the acknowledging person or the mother or the child [sec. 50 Residence Act, (German) administrative instructions, from p. 228],
2. If the acknowledging person or the mother or the child has filed an asylum application and has the nationality of a secure state of origin in accordance with sec. 29a of the Asylum Act [these are actually Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Montenegro, North-Macedonia, Senegal and Serbia, Annex II of Asylum Act],
3. The absence of personal relationships between the acknowledging person and the mother or the child,
4. The suspicion that the acknowledging person has already repeatedly acknowledged the paternity of children of different foreign mothers and has created the legal conditions for the permitted entry or the permitted residence of the child or the mother by the acknowledgment, even if the child by the acknowledgment has acquired the German nationality, or
5. The suspicion that the acknowledging person or mother has been granted or promised an asset for the acknowledgment of paternity or the consent to this.

The issuing authority or the notarizing person must communicate the suspension to the acknowledging person, the mother and the registrar's office. If the competent authority according to sec. 85a of the Residence Act has established the existence of an abusive acknowledgment of paternity in accordance with sec. 85a para. 1 of the Residence Act, and if this decision is unappealable, the notarization must be dismissed.

(3) As long as the authentication is suspended pursuant to para. 2 s. 1, the recognition can not be validly notarized by another notarizing authority or notarizing person. The same shall apply if the requirements of para. 2 s. 4 are met.

(4) For the consent of the mother in accordance with sec. 1595 para 1, para. 1 to 3 shall apply correspondingly.

(5) A recognition of paternity can not be abusive if the acknowledging person is the biological father of the child to be acknowledged.