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30 Dec 2022 Joint custody through recognition as of 1 January 2023

Currently, an unmarried and unregistered parent who recognises the child does not automatically acquire parental custody of the child. Such custody must be applied for separately at the court. However, from 1 January 2023, this is going to change.

Current situation

Many children are born outside a marriage or registered partnership. In that case, only the mother who gave birth to the child is automatically the child's legal parent. The unmarried or non-registered partner can acknowledge the child at the municipality with the mother's consent. To obtain custody, another separate application must then be submitted to the court. The government considers it important that joint custody is more easily arranged. Therefore, the law will be changed from 1 January 2023.

From 1-1-2023

From January, unmarried and unregistered partners will automatically get joint parental authority with the mother by acknowledging their child. It is no longer necessary to go to court.

It is important that parents exercise joint custody of their children. Custody is about the legal responsibility for and control over the upbringing and care of a child. In addition, the person who has custody is the child's legal representative and thus may perform official acts for the child. Custody is therefore important for, for example, applying for a travel document, enrolling in a school or making medical decisions.

Exceptions are possible, for instance if the mother and/or the recogniser do not want joint custody. In that case, the recogniser and the mother can declare at the time of recognition that the custody will be exercised only by the mother.

Date of recognition is decisive

Under the new law, it does not matter whether the child was born before or after 1 January 2023. What is decisive is the moment the other parent acknowledges the child. This must be after 1 January 2023.

If the child was acknowledged before 1 January 2023, parental authority will still have to be applied for jointly with the court. The extra step is then still necessary.

Should you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to contact one of our lawyers. We wish you a very happy New Year and will be happy to be of service again in the New Year!

SPEE advocaten & mediation Maastricht


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