Acknowledging a child before the birth (Kind erkennen vóór de geboorte)
You can become a parent in the legal sense by acknowledging your child. You can acknowledge your child even before its birth. You can acknowledge your child either at the civil registry (burgerlijke stand) or with the aid of a civil-law notary.
You do not need to acknowledge your child (Erkenning niet nodig)
You do not need to acknowledge a child if you automatically become a parent in the legal sense. You are automatically a parent in the legal sense if you are the biological mother. A man, or the non-biological mother in a two-mother family, automatically becomes a parent in the legal sense in one of two situations:
- by marriage to the mother
- by registered partnership with the mother.
Attention! If you are the non-biological mother in a two-mother family, you will need to present a certificate of “donor unknown” (donor onbekend) when the birth is reported. If you do not do that, then you can become a parent in the legal sense by acknowledging your child.
Parental authority (Ouderlijk gezag)
However, acknowledgement of your child does not make you its legal representative. To become your child’s legal representative, you must first apply for parental authority. If you have parental authority, you may decide on your child’s upbringing and care. You are also allowed to manage your child’s capital.
- Conditions (Voorwaarden)
Acknowledgement means that you are obliged to provide for your child. You also have a right to contact with your child after a divorce. You child is entitled to a statutory share in your estate.
You may acknowledge your child if you are a man aged 16 or over. You can also acknowledge your child if you are the non-biological mother in a two-mother family. The following rules also apply:
- The child may not already have a father in the legal sense.
- If the child already has two parents, it can never be acknowledged by another person.
- If you have been placed under guardianship, you will need the court’s permission to acknowledge a child.
- If you are not permitted to marry the mother due to consanguinity, you are not allowed to acknowledge the child.
- If you are the biological father, you cannot withdraw the acknowledgement at a later time.
- The procedure (Gang van zaken)
- First of all, the mother must grant consent for the acknowledgement.
- You must report to the municipal authorities to acknowledge your unborn child.
- The civil registrar will verify your personal details and civil status. If you or the mother-to-be is not registered with the municipality where the child will be acknowledged, your details or her details must first be verified by the municipal authorities where you or the mother are registered.
- Next, the registrar will draw up an “instrument of recognition of an unborn child” (akte van erkenning van een ongeboren vrucht).
- If the mother-to-be is present when you acknowledge the child, you must both sign the instrument of recognition; by signing, the mother-to-be grants her consent for the acknowledgement. If the mother is not present, she must grant her consent by means of a signed statement. You must present that statement when you acknowledge the child.
- If the child is the first to be born of a relationship and you decide to give it the name of the acknowledger, the name must be decided when you acknowledge the child. In that case, the mother must be present when the instrument is signed.
- The acknowledgement becomes legally valid as soon as the child is born, making you the child’s father in the legal sense.
A copy of the instrument of recognition (Afschrift erkenningsakte)
After the acknowledgement, you will be given a copy of the instrument of recognition which you must present when you register the birth of the child at the municipal registry office.
- Bring (Meenemen)
Is the mother accompanying you to the municipal authorities? Bring the following with you:
- valid proof of your identification.
- valid proof of the mother’s identification
Is the mother not accompanying you to the municipal authorities? Bring the following with you:
- valid proof of your identification.
- the mother’s written consent,
- the mother’s signature on the written consent
- a copy of valid proof of the mother’s identification
Are you or the mother living abroad? Bring the following with you as well:
proof issued by the relevant country that you are not married
- Costs (Kosten)
Fee in 2020 (Tarief 2020)
- Background (Achtergrond)
After the instrument of recognition has been drawn up, you will immediately be presented with a copy of it. You will need the copy when you register the birth.
-Making an appointment (Afspraak maken)
We want to be able to help you properly so please make an appointment in advance so that we can provide that product or service.
To make an appointment, please ring the municipality’s Customer Service Centre (Klantcontactcentrum) (0416-683456). They will immediately arrange an appointment for you or put you through to staff who can.
Please check the opening hours in advance.