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Recognising a child

Filiation with the biological mother results from the birth. Filiation with the other parent can, in certain cases, be automatic (presumption of parenthood) or can be established before or after the birth, according to certain conditions (recognition of parenthood).

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Filiation with the biological mother results from the birth.

Parents of different sex

In Swiss law, the father of a child born to a married couple is presumed to be the mother’s husband (presumption of parenthood).

If the parents are not married, filiation between the child and the biological father is established by recognition. A child can be recognised by declaration before a civil registry officer, by a will or as part of an action to recognise paternity before a judge.

Parents of the same sex

Since 1 July 2022, If the biological mother is married to a woman at the time of the birth and the child was conceived by means of sperm donation in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Act on Medically Assisted Reproduction of 18 December 1998, the mother’s wife is the child’s other parent (presumption of parenthood).

Recognition at any time

A child who only has legal filiation with its mother can be recognised at any time by its biological father, regardless of the age or marital status of the latter.

The child can also be recognised before it is born. An adopted child, however, can no longer be recognised.

Parental authority

In Switzerland, joint parental authority is the rule, independent of the marital status of the parents. When an unmarried couple recognises a common child, the parents can submit a declaration of joint parental authority to the civil registrar at the same time as the father recognises his child.


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Article modifié le 02.05.2023 à 14:12