The Federal Courts of Justice ruled on Wednesday that mothers no longer had the right to keep the mistaken men in the dark – and had to tell them who the real daddies were.
This continues a legal trend in Germany of making it increasingly difficult for mothers to hide the identity of the father of their children – the Constitutional Court recently ruled that children had the right to discover who their fathers were. Its judgement put the right of the child to know, above the right of the woman to keep the secret.
Now the rights of a man to discover the identity of the actual father of a child he thought was his, has also been set above that of the mother to keep that knowledge for herself.
The case in question involved a man whose partner had a baby shortly after they had split up, and who said she thought he was the father. Yet a test showed that he was not the father. He wanted to claim repayment of around €4,500 that he had given her for baby equipment and maintenance – from the actual father who has since started paying maintenance.
His former partner refused to tell him who the father was, and he sued. The administrative court in Rendsburg, Schleswig Holstein, found in his favour, as did the Higher Regional Court in Schleswig, but she appealed.
Now the federal court ruled that although the decision impinged on her right to privacy, she had given up a degree of that by initially naming the wrong man as father.