Acknowledgement of paternity

Acknowledgement of paternity will be done primarily at maternity health clinics  and secondarily at the child welfare supervisor’s office. One in three babies is born in a common law relationship where the parents are not married. In these families, the biological paternity is usually clear, and the mother’s partner wants to acknowledge their paternity. In such cases, a separate visit to the child welfare supervisor after the baby is born is not required.

Expectant parents are informed of acknowledgement during a visit to the clinic. Paternity can be acknowledged after the 30th week of pregnancy. The father acknowledges his paternity personally to the nurse in the presence of the baby’s mother and with the mother’s consent at the maternity health clinic which the mother has been visiting.

The identity of the mother and father is verified with appropriate personal identification at the acknowledgement event. Both parents must understand the importance of the acknowledgement and its legal consequences. It is also possible to sign an agreement regarding the joint custody of the unborn baby at the clinic during the acknowledgement of paternity.

The acknowledgement of paternity creates a legally valid family connection. The parents of a child are liable to provide maintenance, and the child is entitled to maintenance until 18 years of age. Even after that age, the child will be entitled to maintenance for education if it is reasonable. The child will have the right to inherit after his/her father and paternal relatives and a right to the father’s surname. The acknowledgement of paternity also makes it possible to agree on lone parenting, living arrangements and visitation rights later.

The local register office confirms paternity

From the clinic (neuvola), the processing of a paternity case is transferred first to the child welfare supervisor  and then to the local register office for confirmation.  It is possible to cancel a paternity that was acknowledged in advance by informing the child welfare supervisor no later than 30 days after the birth. After the 30-day deadline, the child welfare supervisor will process the matter and transfer the confirmation of paternity to the local register office. The local register office sends the decision on the confirmation of paternity by post directly to the parents. The local register office may refrain from confirming paternity if there is reason to doubt the paternity of the person who acknowledged it.  Once paternity has been confirmed, the child welfare supervisor confirms the joint custody agreement signed at the clinic and sends it by post to the parents.

It is still not possible to agree on lone parenting, maintenance, visitation rights or living arrangements at the maternity health clinic. These matters are agreed at the child welfare supervisor’s office after the birth, if necessary.

The acknowledgement of paternity does not apply to married couples because paternity is determined based on the mother’s marriage.