Acknowledgement of parentage

Acknowledgement of parentage

If you are Belgian, all changes to your civil status are governed by Belgian law. Belgian law applies even if you live abroad.

If you live abroad, you must inform your local Belgian embassy or consulate of all changes to your civil status.

When is an acknowledgment of parentage required?

If a child's parentage has not been established in accordance with Belgian law at the time of birth, the child may be acknowledged at a later date by the biological father and/or biological mother.

How can a child's parentage be acknowledged?

In accordance with Belgian law, a child's parentage can be acknowledged in the birth certificate, separate registration certificate or in a deed drawn up by a solicitor. However, a child's parentage cannot be acknowledged in a will.

Acknowledgement of a child's parentage is always governed by the legislation in the country of which the parent who is acknowledging the child is a national. Therefore Belgian law applies if a Belgian is acknowledging a child's parentage.

When can a child be acknowledged?

In accordance with Belgian law, a child can be acknowledged before or after birth. It is even possible to acknowledge a child's parentage if the child is already an adult.

Acknowledgement by the mother

As a Belgian mother, you only need to officially acknowledge the child if a birth certificate has not been issued or if your name does not appear on the birth certificate. Neither the father nor the child are required to give their consent to the acknowledgment of parentage. Acknowledgement by the mother is extremely rare.

Acknowledgement by the father

Acknowledgement is only possible if paternity remains to be established or if paternity is denied/contested.

1. If the acknowledgement has been registered before 1 July 2007 (and after 01.10.2004), the following regulation applies.

If the father is married to a woman other than the child's mother, the acknowledgement of parentage must be approved by the court of first instance. The civil registrar who draws up the recognition certificate, will provide this information to the spouse of the person acknowledging parentage, within three days.

A child's parentage can only be acknowledged if the necessary consents are given. If the child is under 15 years of age, the mother must give her consent. If the child is between 15 and 18 years old, both the mother and the child must give their consent. If the child is over 18 years of age, consent is only required from the child.

2. If the acknowledgement has been registered after 1 July 2007, the following regulation applies.

If the Belgian father is married to a woman other than the child¿s mother, his spouse must be informed either by registered post or by bailiff.

A child¿s parentage can only be acknowledged if the necessary consents are given. If the child is under 12 years of age, the mother must give her consent. If the child is between 12 and 18 years old, both the mother and the child must give their consent. If the child is over 18 years of age, consent is only required from the child.

Does the certificate acknowledging a child's parentage have to be entered into the Belgian registers?

A certificate acknowledging a child's parentage can be entered into the Belgian registers. This means that it will always be possible to easily obtain full or short form certified copies in Belgium. Further information is available under Registration certificates.

Does the acknowledged child have Belgian nationality?

Further information is available under Nationality.

Which surname will the acknowledged child be given?

Further information is available under Name.

Further information can also be obtained by contacting:

  • Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs Registry Department
  • The embassy or consulate in your main place of residence abroad