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The legal father of a child is not always the child’s biological father. In case of disputes on this matter, paternity can be confirmed or annulled using the legal process.

There is a big difference
between biological paternity
and legal paternity

Recent sociological research claims that 75% of men and 25% of women have affairs. If children are born from such an adulterous relationship, it often results in conflict about fatherhood. In fact, the legal father of the child is not necessarily the biological father. Keyser attorneys in Antwerp can help you in the process of recognition of paternity, or disputes on this matter.



If a father doubts his paternity, it is important for various reasons that the truth is determined as quickly as possible. This is not only for emotional reasons, but also because of the legal consequences of paternity.

Paternity affects the maintenance obligation of the father and his responsibility for extraordinary costs of the child, as well as parental authority over the child, the rights of the child, and the inheritance rights or even maintenance obligations of the child to the father.


There is a big difference between biological and legal fatherhood. If a father wants to contest paternity or acknowledgment of paternity, a number of factors have to be taken into account, including: if the father has acknowledged the child (if the parents are unmarried), if there is a possession état (possession of status) of the child in terms of the father, what prevails in the interest of the child, etc.


Results from a DNA test can provide certainty about biological fatherhood, and are crucial elements in the assessment of legal paternity. If the mother does not voluntarily cooperate with a child carrying out a DNA test, DNA testing can be enforced by a procedure conducted by the competent family court. If it sees fit, the court may appoint a doctor to conduct the DNA test.


After annulment or confirmation of paternity by the court, the issue that usually follows is the possibility of changing the child’s name. The name change application must be submitted to the Belgian Federal Department of Justice.


If you have any questions about international relationships and international divorces, or would like a consultation with lawyers specialising in international relationships and international marriages, please contact our law firm in Antwerp.

Stefanie Keyser en Julie Borms