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Responsible for the service Social Services and Health Care Division, City of Helsinki

Paternity issues

  • Service
  • Helsinki
  • Public service

The task of a Child Welfare Officer is to investigate the paternity of extramarital children.

After the child is born, the Child Welfare Officer will send the mother an invitation to a paternity test.

Usually, the parents visit the Child Welfare Officer together, but the mother also has the option to launch the paternity investigation process by herself. The man who believes himself to be the father, may also launch the investigation by acknowledging the child as his own.

When investigating paternity, the Child Welfare Officer will hear both the mother and the man believed to be the father. DNA tests are also possible. Both the mother and the man have to prove their identity when visiting the Child Welfare Officer, through a reliable method (valid identity card or a passport).

If the man is not willing to voluntarily acknowledge the child, the Child Welfare Officer can, upon the mother's request, take legal actions, in order to confirm the paternity in a court of justice.

To whom and on what terms

The mother or parents of extramarital children.

The service is only for citizens of Helsinki.

Background information

The purpose of establishing paternity is to obtain information to determine or confirm the child’s father. You are automatically the child’s father and guardian if the child is born in marriage. If you are not married, the child welfare officer must establish your paternity and the Digital and Population Data Services Agency must confirm it.

Before paternity can be confirmed, it has to be acknowledged. You can already acknowledge your paternity during the pregnancy at the prenatal clinic. The pregnant mother has to be present when the acknowledgement takes place. You may also do the acknowledgement at the child welfare supervisor’s office. In this case, you must to bring a certificate of pregnancy provided to you by your prenatal clinic.

If you have acknowledged your paternity in advance before the child’s birth, you will automatically become the child's guardian once your paternity is confirmed. If you do not acknowledge your paternity until after the child’s birth, a separate agreement on your custody must be made at the child welfare officer’s office.

When the child is born as a result of assisted fertility treatment, you are the child’s father if you have consented to the treatment together with the child’s mother. If treatment was provided to the mother alone, you are the child’s father if you have consented to having your paternity confirmed when donating gametes or if you have, in agreement with the mother, consented to having your paternity confirmed after the treatment.

The paternity of a child born as a result of assisted fertility treatment must be acknowledged if you are not married.

The child welfare officer can draw up the record of the establishment of paternity once 30 days have passed from the child’s birth. The child welfare officer sends the record and the documents concerning the acknowledgement of paternity to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency confirms paternity on the basis of the documents.

Basic information

The service is provided byCity of Helsinki
Responsible for the serviceSocial Services and Health Care Division, City of Helsinki
Area Helsinki
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish, English
Text edited by: Social Services and Health Care Division, City of Helsinki
Updated: 22/5/2022