OPINION

A question of paternity

In cases where the paternity of a newly born child to recently divorced parents cannot be established, Greek law declares the father to be the divorced husband, if the child was born before the divorce or within 300 days of it. If the child was born after the 300 days from his/her mother’s divorce, the person who wants to be declared the child’s father has to take action to establish his paternity. If the mother marries again within 300 days following the divorce, the law declares that the second husband is the father, unless the first husband takes legal action to claim paternity. In any case, the child’s paternity can be contested in court, if the husband is impotent or if he was absent (e.g., abroad on business) when the child was conceived. A child’s paternity can be contested by the husband, the husband’s parents (if the husband is deceased), the child and the mother. The contestant may be present in court or be represented by a lawyer. There are instances when the child’s paternity cannot be contested and specifically: 1. By the husband, if five years have elapsed since the child’s birth. 2. By the husband’s parents (the child’s grandparents) – in case of the husband’s decease – if one year has elapsed since the child’s birth. 3. By the child, after reaching the age of 19. 4. By the child’s mother one year after the child’s birth, or if the mother is remarried six months after her divorce. Paternity cannot be contested if the child is deceased. The husband cannot retract his recognition of a child as his own or if he has consented to his wife’s artificial insemination, Athina Tsakirakis is a lawyer. Her column, Greek Law, appears in the English edition of Kathimerini twice a month.