Procedure for establishing and denying parentage in the Czech Republic

In the context of establishing and denying parentage, practice and legislation focus mainly on establishing and denying paternity.

For the determination of maternity, the situation should be clear - the mother of the child is the woman who gave birth to the child. The Office is also aware of cases of disputes over maternity, but these are isolated and specific, so it is always advisable to contact the Office directly in this situation.

In the case of paternity, doubts about the correctness of the paternity determination are much more common.

Establishing or denying paternity is in itself a very sensitive subject. When the international element is added to this, i.e. one of the parents or alleged parents lives abroad, the matter can become complicated. This is because the different national laws, the distance between the parents and the court and therefore the (in)possibility of using coercive means of cooperation, etc. must be taken into account.

Determination of paternity in the Czech Republic

Determination of paternity in the Czech Republic is based on so-called presumptions of paternity.

The first presumption of paternity applies to situations where the parents of the child are married - the father of the child is determined to be the mother's husband, who is also registered on the child's birth certificate. The first presumption also applies to situations where the child is born within 300 days of the dissolution of the marriage (only if the mother does not remarry).

If the spouses divorce and the child is born between the commencement of the divorce proceedings and within 300 days after the dissolution of the marriage, and the husband or the mother's former husband declares that he is not the father of the child, and another man declares that he is the father of the child, that man is presumed to be the father. The mother of the child shall join in these declarations, which shall be made in the proceedings before the court.

If the child's parents are not married, then the paternity of the child must be determined in another way (the mother's partner is not automatically entered on the child's birth certificate). In the case where the mother and the man declare paternity of the child by consent, there is a second presumption of paternity. This declaration can be made before the registry office or before a court, or at an embassy.

If paternity is not established in one of the above ways, the only option is to apply to the court for a decision on paternity. In this case, there is a third presumption of paternity and the man who had sex with the child's mother at the relevant time is considered the father. The application to the court may be made in this case by the mother, the child or the man who is considered to be the father of the child.

Denial of paternity in the Czech Republic

Once established, paternity can be denied if the legal conditions are met. The system of denial of paternity in the Czech Republic is based on the existence of so-called denial periods and the strict definition of the persons who may file a petition for denial of paternity with the court.

According to the law, paternity can be denied by:

  • the mother
  • the legal father (the man registered on the child's birth certificate)

This is a problem in many cases, since, for example, a man who claims to be the father of a child (but the child already has another man registered as the father on the birth certificate) has practically no means of protection, he has no possibility to file a petition to deny the paternity of the matrilineal father and, consequently, to establish his paternity. The same applies to the child himself, who, according to the law, has no possibility to file a petition to deny paternity.

Period of denial of paternity established on the basis of the first presumption:

  • the child's mother within 6 months of the child's birth
  • the husband of the mother (the father of the child) within 6 months of becoming aware of facts giving rise to doubt that he is the father of the child, but not later than 6 years after the birth of the child

Period of denial of paternity established on the basis of a second presumption:

  • both parents within 6 months from the date of the establishment of paternity (from the date of the affirmative declaration)

In exceptional circumstances, if the interests of the child and public policy so require, it is possible to contest paternity even after the expiry of these time limits, if the court has waived the delay of the time limit for contestation.

If paternity has been established by a court decision, paternity so established may no longer be denied.