Acknowledgement of a child


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Acknowledgement is an authentic instrument by which a person declares that a paternal, maternal or co-maternal relationship exists between them and the child.

This procedure is subject to the law of the State of which the parent is a national at the time of acknowledgement.
Under Belgian law, except in exceptional cases, if you are not married to the mother, a procedure to acknowledge your child may be carried out. If the father or co-parent is married and acknowledges a child born to a woman to whom he is not married, the spouse of the father or co-parent will be notified.

The acknowledgement procedure is carried out by the municipality’s civil registrar. 

With the mother’s consent, acknowledgement may take place:

  • before the birth. The law does not stipulate a minimum period of pregnancy. All that is required is a doctor’s certificate confirming the pregnancy which mentions the expected due date.
  • when the birth is registered.

After the birth, in the majority of cases, there are no time limits. If the child has reached the age of 12, the parent in respect of whom filiation has been established and the child must both give their consent. The consent of the child is sufficient in the case of acknowledgement of an adult child or an emancipated minor.

Where there is no agreement on acknowledgement, legal proceedings may be brought.

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FPS Justice – Information Unit
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FPS Justice

Updated on 23 october 2023


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