The Federal Ministry of Justice submitted the draft of a law to reform misattributed paternity recourse, which is supposed to be enacted in the current legislative term. The claimant’s rights are indeed strengthened by the law, on the one hand, on its merits with the right to information to be introduced about the identity of the biological father, if the mother knows his name and does not persistently refuse to identify him, however, on the other hand, they are severely curtailed in terms of amounts.
As soon as the new statutory provisions enter into force, recourse for misattributed paternity may be demanded from the child’s biological father for alimony paid for a period of two years only prior to initiating the proceedings for challenging the paternity up to the conclusion of these proceedings. The reasoning of the legislature for introducing the two-year period for the past to the effect that a reversal of alimony payments for the period, in which the claimant typically did not doubt his paternity and was "compensated" by the family life, is only convincing if and to the extent to which there has actually been a family life. Constellations are absolutely conceivable, however, in which no social family existed or the marriage was only short-lived and the presumed father only learned later that the child originated from another man. In these cases, limitation or factual exclusion of the claim is not justified. The new law is only applicable to new cases, that is, the limitation does (only then) not apply if the claimant has already demanded recourse from the child’s biological father at the time when the law enters into force.
If the fact that the child originated from a man other than the legal father is only discovered belatedly, the new law can have substantial financial effects: If the legal father, for example, has paid child support for 18 years for the child, according to the current legal situation, he may demand recourse from the biological father for the full sum of child support paid up to the child’s birth. Applying the values of the Düsseldorf table, the standard support over 18 years at a net income of up to EUR 1,500 adds up to about EUR 84,000 and at a net income of up to EUR 5,100 adds up to about EUR 135,000. As soon as the new law has entered into force, recourse can be demanded only for two years into the past. The range of standard support and of a corresponding recourse claim will then (in the case of discovery of the true natural paternity at the child’s age of 18) only be between about EUR 29,000 and EUR 47,000. The new law will thus reduce the resource claim in the case in point by about EUR 55,000 to EUR 88,000. If the misattributed paternity is only discovered much later, if no support had already been paid for more than two years, the recourse claim will be entirely waived.
Fathers, who doubt their biological paternity, should therefore take immediate action, in order to at least limit the financial loss. Unlike the other unavoidable, tragic effects of the discovery of a separation of legal and biological paternity, the financial aspects of this tragedy are for the most part not the worst, but the only ones for which the legal father can obtain actual compensation.Click here for the original article (in German Language).