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Change in paternity

The Children Act contains rules about changes in paternity.

In some cases, the mother's husband is not the biological father of her child. In other cases, the mother states that a man other than the biological father is the father of the child. If he acknowledges paternity, he will be the legal father of the child even if he is not the biological father.

In some cases, parents may want to maintain the existing legal paternity. In other cases, the legal father may be made aware of circumstances that make him a doubt whether he is the biological father. Men may also become aware of information which means they may be the father of a child that they do not know about.

Paternity that follows from the pater est rule or from acknowledgement can be changed by a new man acknowledging paternity and this acknowledgement being accepted by the mother and the man who has been counted as the child's father. In these cases, the Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) must ensure that the new paternity is biologically correct by ordering a DNA analysis. No time limits apply to paternity being changed in this way.

Paternity issue in court

If not all parties agree that the paternity is to be changed, the person who wants to change the paternity must bring an action before the courts. The mother, father or man who alleges he is the father may bring an action to change the paternity within one year of becoming aware of information that another man may be the child's biological father. If they wait for more than one year, they will be unable to bring an action. A man who alleges he is the father must (in addition) bring an action before the child is three years old. The child can always bring an action to change paternity, irrespective of time limits. This also applies if the child is over 18 years of age.

When a judgment has previously been pronounced on a paternity case, a person can demand a review of the judgment if the case was ruled on by the court without a DNA analysis.

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