Acknowledging parenthood of your child

Are you having a child, and you and the birth mother are not married or in a civil partnership? You, as a father or the female partner of a birth mother, can become a legal parent if you officially acknowledge parenthood of that child. This can be done through your municipality. Acknowledging parenthood of a child free of charge. You can acknowledge parenthood of a child during pregnancy, at the time of registration of the birth, or after registration of the birth. 

Last updated on 2 January 2023

Lees deze informatie in het Nederlands

Acknowledging parenthood of a child as the father or female partner of the birth mother

Conditions for acknowledging parenthood of a child

Acknowledging parenthood of a child is subject to the following conditions: 

  • you are at least 16 years old; 
  • the birth mother has given her consent if the child is under the age of 16; 
  • you cannot acknowledge parenthood of a child if you are not permitted to marry the birth mother, for example because you are a close blood relative of hers; 
  • there must not already be 2 parents. Has the child been adopted by the birth mother’s female partner, for example? If so, the biological father will no longer be able to acknowledge parenthood of that child. 
  • Have you been placed under a conservatorship (in Dutch) on account of your physical or mental state? If so, you will first need to obtain authorisation from the regional court. 

You must also take the following into account when acknowledging parenthood of a child: 

  • You must acknowledge parenthood of each child separately. This includes a second or subsequent child from a relationship. This does not happen automatically, unless you were married or in a civil partnership prior to the birth. 
  • When acknowledging parenthood of the first child officially, you choose whose last name the child will have: the birth mother’s or yours. All subsequent children from the same relationship are automatically given the same last name as the first child. 
  • Was the child legally acknowledged before 1 January 2023? Then the parents do have to apply to the district court for joint custody.
  • When acknowledging a child if not married or in a civil partnership with the birth mother after 1 January 2023 then you will automatically be granted joint custody (in Dutch). There are exceptions (in Dutch) such as when acknowledging the child you both declare that the birth mother is granted sole custody.

When you can acknowledge a child at the municipality

Laws and regulations (in Dutch)

Burgerlijk Wetboek Boek 1, artikel 203

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