Paternity law is part of family law and includes those regulations that deal with the legal aspects of paternity in Germany.

Paternity law is regulated in particular in Sections 1592 ff. of the Civil Code (BGB). Paternity law in the broader sense also includes numerous individual provisions in the BGB that affect paternity in some way, such as the provisions on parental custody (§§ 1626 ff. BGB).

The father of a child in the legal sense does not have to be the child’s biological father. In paternity law, the father of a child is generally the person who is married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, see Section 1592 No. 1 BGB. If the child is born out of wedlock, in paternity law the father is the one who recognizes his paternity – under public certification and with the consent of the mother – see Section 1592 No. 2 BGB. Finally, paternity can be determined in paternity law in accordance with § 1592 No. 3 BGB must be determined in court.

However, paternity can be challenged under paternity law. Under paternity law, the legal father himself, as well as the mother and the child, may be entitled to challenge, and possibly also the person who believes he or she is the biological father of the child, cf. Section 1600 Paragraph. 1 No. 1-4 BGB. Since then. As of June 1, 2008, under paternity law, the responsible authorities are also entitled to challenge paternity, see Section 1600 Paragraph. 1 No. 5 BGB.

Gegenstand von Auseinandersetzungen im Vaterschaftsrecht sind regelmäßig folgende Bereiche:

  • recognition of paternity
  • Contesting paternity
  • Official challenge to paternity
  • Court determination of paternity
  • Paternity test
  • Parental custody, access rights, etc.
  • maintenance obligation


On the following pages we will try to provide you with as much information as possible about paternity law.

We also recommend the following pages on paternity law: