Family law

Action to establish paternity

The child who is born in the marriage has to presumed father the husband of his mother. However, if the parents were not married at the time of the birth of the child, and the father did not step forward to the recognition of the child, the latter (or the parent if the child is a minor) may implement a judicial action to restore parentage.

establish paternity

Paternity: What does it do?
It is first necessary that a person be the alleged father. The action to establish paternity is not intended to discover an unknown father but to establish legally that such person is the father of the child. The child (or the mother) assigned the father argued before the court of major jurisdiction by way of summons. The plaintiff in the action to establish paternity (child or his mother) must bring the elements tending to show that paternity.

The proof of paternity may be revoked by any means (testimonials, writing …). Proving the existence of close relationships between mother (whose motherhood is not debatable) and father during the child was conceived (180 to 300 days before birth) is obviously a good way to show paternity. However, genetic expertise (paternity test) today largely replaced this research because of its simplicity and its scientific effectiveness. It is almost systematically sought and granted.

The paternity test must be ordered by justice and performed in a laboratory. The alleged father may refuse to undergo the genetic expertise due to the protection of the individual against any infringement of physical integrity, the test that requires a blood test. However, the judge may draw all the consequences of the refusal of the alleged father to pay for the test. If the alleged father proves by any means that paternity is impossible (e.g. sterility, remote blood test), the procedure fails. The action must be brought within a period of 10 years.

However, the limitation period is suspended for the child during his minority. The child will therefore act on its majority to 28 years of age. This procedure is delicate, sometimes lengthy and expensive. The use of a lawyer is mandatory.

What are the effects of paternity?
If paternity is established and recognized by the judge, filiation is transcribed on the birth certificate and vital records. The judge will rule on parental authority, contribution to the maintenance and education of the child and on the attribution of the name. Finally, the father may be sentenced to pay damages, alimony, as well as to pay maternity and maintenance costs incurred by the mother during the period before and after the birth of the child.