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Family: Cabinet calls for tougher action against fake fathers

Family: Cabinet calls for tougher action against fake fathers
Family: Cabinet calls for tougher action against fake fathers

A German can secure the residence of a foreign mother if he recognizes the paternity of her child. But what if the alleged father is not the real one?

The federal government wants to take tougher action against fictitious paternity in order to secure the right of residence. The cabinet approved a corresponding draft law from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Ministry of Justice on Wednesday in Berlin.

“The abusive recognition of paternity is a perfidious ploy, ultimately designed to circumvent immigration law,” said Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP). Men would acknowledge paternity for children to whom they had neither a biological nor a social relationship, and who they did not even want to establish. “As a rule, it is about obtaining a right of residence in Germany for people who are not entitled to one.” The child often receives German citizenship, according to government sources. In return, money is often paid, it was said. After the cabinet decision, it is the Bundestag’s turn.

Fake paternity is already prohibited today, but according to the responsible ministries, the authorities are having difficulty taking effective action against it. The legislature has already tried twice since 2008 to put a stop to fake paternity. The Federal Constitutional Court overturned the first reform because of the hardship it would have on children, who could become stateless. The second reform, which required notaries and youth welfare offices to report suspected cases of abuse to the immigration authorities, proved to be ineffective. This is because cases of abuse are usually only recognized late, if at all. According to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior, this is because notaries and youth welfare offices do not have information that could make them suspicious.

“We are putting a clear stop to deception and abuse of the law in order to obtain a right of residence in Germany,” said Faeser. Fake paternity also has a detrimental effect on the children affected. “We must protect children from being exploited by fake fathers.”

Successful deception of the authorities will be punishable in the future

In future, the immigration authorities will have to give their consent before registering paternity if there is a “difference in immigration law” between the actual or alleged parents – for example, if the “father” is a German citizen but the mother does not have a secure residence permit. If the immigration authorities do not agree, the registry office will refuse to include the man in the birth record.

If the man can prove his biological paternity, there is no need to check for possible abuse. If there are clear signs that the man is taking responsibility for the child or if, for example, he has been living with the mother for more than six months, the immigration authorities should generally assume that he is the father.

If a successful recognition turns out to be false, it should be possible to withdraw it within five years. Successfully deceiving the authorities should be punishable in the future.

According to the Federal Government’s findings, the immigration authorities processed a total of 1,769 suspected cases between 2018 and 2021 and identified 290 false recognitions. The actual extent is probably much larger, it said.

Source: Stern

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