Fatherland: Germany mulls law forcing mothers to reveal identity of child’s biological dad

© Toby Melville
Germany has drafted legislation dubbed the ‘milkmen's kids law’, requiring mothers to tell their partners if children they support were conceived with other men. The move would make it easier to claim two-year support payments from biological fathers.

According to the bill, as quoted by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a woman has to notify “upon request” a non-biological father taking care of her child if she “was attended [by another man] during the period of conception.” 

Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who advocated the bill, says the new legislation will make it easier for men who support a child to demand reimbursement from the biological father for a period of up to two years. Previously, this time frame was open-ended.

“We need to offer more legal protection for ‘false’ fathers to seek recourse,” Maas said.

A court would then rule whether a mother could keep the biological father’s identity a secret.

“The mother should only have the right to remain silent when there are serious reasons for her not to name the biological father,” Maas noted.

Maas reportedly began to work on the legislation after the Federal Constitutional Court called to strengthen rights of so-called false fathers with an applicable law last March.

At the time, a woman had filed an appeal against rulings of a German district court and a regional court which obliged her to disclose identity of her child’s biological father, according to the newspaper.

The woman had married her partner when she was already pregnant and later confessed to the man that he was not perhaps the child’s real father. The couple later divorced and the ‘false father’ attempted to claim a reimbursement of the support costs, apparently launching a legal battle.

Finally, the Constitutional Court said the woman could conceal the biological father’s identity citing the absence of legal grounds to enforce disclosure.

Rough estimates cited by Spiegel say that from 4 percent to more than 10 percent of German children grow up thinking the wrong man is their father.