Paternity

By law, a child is entitled to know both parents.

Maternity/paternity of a child

  • If the mother is not married or cohabiting at the birth of the child, then the child is registered as father unknown. The mother is required to register the name of the father, either by obtaining the approval of the declared father or by starting legal proceedings to confirm paternity.
  • Where a child is born to a married mother, the husband is registered as the father.
  • In the child is born shortly after divorce, the ex-husband is considered the child´s father.
  • If the mother is registered as cohabiting at the birth of the child, with a man who she registers as the father, then he is considered the father of the child.
  • If the mother and the man she has registered as the father register for cohabitation at a later date, then he is considered the father of the child, if the child is still registered as father unknown.
  • A woman who has a child conceived by artificial insemination, is its mother.
  • A child of a single woman, who is conceived by artificial insemination, will not have a registered father.
  • A man who gives consent for the artificial insemination of his wife or registered partner is considered the father of the child.
  • A women who gives consent for artificial insemination of her wife or registered partner is considered the child´s parent.
  • A man who donates sperm for the purpose of it being used in artificial insemination of a woman other than his wife or partner, is not considered the father of the child.  

Voluntary declaration of paternity

  • Mother and father fill out a form concerning the paternity of the child and it is sent by mail or taken to the reception desk of the National Registry of Iceland without any action from the district magistrate. Two witnesses must confirm the signature of the father.
  • The mother names a man as the father of her child on the form submitted to the office of the district magistrate.
  • If the named father acknowledges paternity of the child, he signs a declaration in the presence of the district magistrate. He must present identification documents with a picture.
  • The named father can request that a paternity blood test be carried out before signing the paternity acknowledgement. He then signs a separate statement.
  • If the named father does not acknowledge paternity of the child, then the paternity case is taken before the courts.

Judicial proceedings

  • The child itself, its mother, or a man who believes himself to be the father of a child, can bring a paternity case before the courts.
  • If the child is the plaintiff, then the child´s legal guardians can pursue legal action on the child´s behalf. The cost is paid out of the state treasury.
  • The paternity case can be resolved with agreement between the mother and the man named as the father, or with a court judgement.
  • The child itself, its mother, or the registered father, may pursue legal action, if it is found that the child does not have the correct registered father.
  • The judge may decide to have the blood of the mother, father and child tested, as well as any other scientific test required to identify paternity.

Links of interest

Laws and regulations

Legislation, Ministry of Welfare