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Recognition of a child

The recognition of a child is a declaration by which you clearly state that a bond of paternity, maternity, or co-motherhood exists between you and a child. By recognising a child, you have the same rights and obligations towards your child as your partner.


The mother and/or child consent to the recognition. The person who is to give consent depends on the child’s age:

  • If the child is under twelve years of age, the mother must give her consent.
  • If the child is between twelve and eighteen years of age, the mother and child must give their consent.
  • For the recognition of an adult or a minor emancipated child, only the child’s consent is required.

A recognition is not always necessary:

  • The mother is the woman who gave birth to the child. Stating her name on the birth certificate suffices to identify the child’s mother.
  • A child born during a marriage automatically has the mother’s partner listed as the father or co-mother.


You can recognise a child:

  • before the birth with a certificate stating the presumed date of birth. The gynaecologist can issue this certificate
  • after the birth at the time of the declaration of birth or later without any specific time limit.

Both parents must go to the register office together to apply for recognition. This can be done in the municipality

  • in which you live
  • in which the other parent lives
  • or in which the child was born.

If the father is married to a partner other than the mother, the father’s spouse must be informed of the recognition.


  • identity cards
  • for a recognition before the birth: a doctor’s certificate confirming that the mother is pregnant and stating the presumed date of birth.
  • in case of a recognition after the birth: a recent birth certificate for the child (max. one year old).

If you are not registered in the population or foreign nationals register, you may also have to submit the following documents:

  • proof of unmarried status. This is only necessary if, according to the law of the country of origin, a married person cannot recognise a child from a person other than their spouse.
  • proof of nationality.
  • proof of residence.

These documents must be provided with the necessary authentication and, if necessary, accompanied by a translation done by a sworn translator from the court in Belgium.