Skip to main content

Paternity, child's custody and maintenance


If a child's parents are not married at the moment of the child's birth, paternity is declared by acknowledgement. The acknowledgement of paternity is preceded by an investigation, which aims at ensuring the biological paternity of the man concerned.

The Child Welfare Officer in the Family Law Services in Tampere handles issues relating to affiliation and the declaration of paternity. The Population Data Office finally confirms the acknowledgement of paternity.

Parents (of a child born out of wedlock) receive convocation for a paternity investigation after notification by the Population Data Office. The parents may also arrange an appointment on their own initiative for a paternity investigation.

Once paternity has been declared, the child can be given the father's family name and have the right to inherit from the father.

Following the confirmation of paternity, the father is liable to take part in the child's maintenance. At the moment of acknowledging paternity, the parents may make an agreement on the child's shared guardianship. In default of an agreement, the child's mother becomes the sole guardian.

Child's custody, living place and meeting rights

When a child is born in wedlock, both parents are the child's guardians in shared guardianship. However, should the parents’ divorce or paternity be certain, both parents have to decide on how to organize the child’s care.

An agreement on the child's maintenance, guardianship, living place and meeting rights can be made in writing by the child welfare officer in the Family Law Services, or the case may be referred to the district court for a decision.

If necessary, a court will request for a circumstantial report on the child's living conditions from the social workers of the Family Law Services.