Germany to tighten law on paternity recognition

Germany to tighten law on paternity recognition

The German government has drafted a law which will make the paternity recognition procedure more scrupulous. The Ministry of Justice has said the new law is designed to prevent cases of misuse.

New German draft law on paternity recognition

According to a new draft law, staff at Germany’s Ausländerbehörden (Foreigners’ Offices) will be added to the list of officials who check birth registrations.

Under the new law, if the mother of a child whose birth is being registered has a “weak” residence status, such as a tourist visa, or no valid residence permit in Germany, the registry office (Standesamt) may only recognise the father once the Ausländerbehörde has approved the paternity.

In cases where misuse is suspected i.e. the Standesamt suspects that the father is recognising an unrelated child to aid the mother in securing a more stable residence status, the Ausländerbehörde will have the authority to deny paternity. Scenarios which could lead the Ausländerbehörde to suspect misuse include, if the mother is facing imminent deportation, sufficient evidence cannot be provided to prove relations with the father, or they cannot communicate.

According to the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Interior, of 1.800 suspected cases of false paternity between 2018 and 2021, the authorities concerned deemed 290 to be cases of misuse. Members of the Bundestag are expected to vote on the draft law after the summer break.

The coalition is “pandering to right-wing” says Berlin organisation

For KuB, an organisation in Berlin that campaigns against the restriction of rights based on residence status in Germany, the tightening of the law is disproportionate to the misuse cases cited as motivation.

Speaking to IamExpat, KuB said that the law would only “put further stress on people in precarious living conditions, jeopardise children’s welfare and undermine the fundamental right to a family”. In the most private areas of their lives, “people with precarious residence status, who are often also affected by racism are shown that the German state fundamentally suspects them of abuse instead of providing them with the support they need,” the organisation said.

Receiving little spotlight compared to the newly adopted dual citizenship law and Chancenkarte Opportunity Card policy adopted by the coalition, the Scholz-led government have implemented several strict measures on migrants to Germany, including a law granting police new powers to search the bedrooms of third-party people related to someone facing deportation.

In the case of the new paternity recognition law, KuB accused the coalition of “political capitulation [...] to a hostile “migration debate”. “Once again, pandering to extreme right-wing positions in asylum and migration policy seems more important than humanitarian, fundamental rights or even practical considerations,” they said.

Thumb image credit: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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