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Can we recognise a child we're not the father of?

Verified 17 March 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

You can recognise a child without having to prove a biological link between you and that child.

This relation can be disputed subsequently (by the mother, for example) and possibly be subject to damages against the child.

Paternity can be challenged by providing evidence that the author of the recognition is not the father. Recognition is cancelled.


if you did not know, at the time of the acknowledgement, that the child was not yours, the damages are generally not applied to you.

If you recognise a child who is not yours for defraud, public prosecutor may challenge criminal this unlawfully established connection.

Your statement may be challenged by the public prosecutor if it seems implausible to him (given the age of the person who recognises the child, for example) or fraudulent (to receive social assistance or obtain French nationality, for example).

The criminal penalties are subject to the offence retention.


recognise a child solely for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit or French nationality is punishable by 5 years' imprisonment and €15 000 fine.