How is paternity established in Poland?
1. What does the term paternity even mean?
Paternity in legal terms confirms that a man is the father of a child. The legal bond in question generates both rights and obligations between the above-mentioned which are not created by the biological bond alone.
2. What is the presumption of paternity and what are the other ways of establishing this link?
In the case of marital relationships, there is a presumption that the mother’s husband is the father of the child. However, outside of a marital relationship, when the aforementioned presumption does not apply there are two ways of establishing paternity. The first is acknowledgment of paternity, which is done before the head of the register office. In this case, the father of the child declares that the child comes from him. Paternity may be acknowledged for a child who is conceived but not yet born. However, in such a case there is a risk that an incorrect acknowledgement of paternity may occur. The situation in question may arise if the father is convinced that the child is his biological child and it subsequently turns out that this is not the case. In such a case, the father is entitled to bring an action to establish that the acknowledgment of paternity is invalid.
3. When is a judicial determination of paternity necessary?
If there is no agreement between the parents of a child on an acknowledgement of paternity before the head of the registry office, then one way of settling the issue in question is a judicial determination of paternity. It requires an action before the family court. An action to establish paternity until the child comes of age can be brought by both the father and the mother. Once the child has reached the age of majority, the child himself or herself may bring an action to establish the paternity of a particular person. The public prosecutor, on the other hand, may make the request at any time. Notably, unlike in the case of an acknowledgement of paternity before the head of the registry office, it is not possible to bring an action to establish paternity before the birth of the child, i.e. during the pregnancy of the mother.
4. What if the husband of the mother is not the biological father?
It is important to note that there may also be a situation where the husband is not the biological father of the child. In such a situation, the biological father of the child will not be able to make an acknowledgment before the head of the civil registry office. Pursuant to the provision of Article 62 of the Family and Guardianship Code, if a child is born during the marriage or within three hundred days of its cessation or annulment, it is presumed that the child comes from the mother’s husband. Thus, in any such case, the husband or ex-husband will automatically be presumed to be the father.
In order to rebut this presumption, it is necessary to sue for a denial of paternity. Only a final judgment denying the paternity of the mother’s husband will allow an acknowledgement of paternity by the biological father.
What is particularly important is that the mother can only sue for the denial of paternity within 6 months after birth, and the husband within 6 months of learning that
the child was born. This time limit does not apply to the public prosecutor.
5. What are the ways of proving paternity?
Currently, the most common way to prove that a man is the father of a child is through the result of a DNA test carried out either privately or by court order.Wróć