There are children who are born to parents who are not married to each other. This is due to a number of varying reasons such as early pregnancy, unfaithfulness in marriage and rape. Those children are said to have been born out of wedlock.
It is important for such children to be recognized and given the right to parental care because parental care is every child’s right.
Article 264 of law no. 32/2016 of 28/08/2016 the law governing persons and family talks about the recognition of children born out of wedlock. It says that a child born out of wedlock can be recognized any time. It can be done while he/she is still in his/her mother’s womb, it can be any time while the child is alive or even when he/she is dead but his/her children are alive.
Recognition of a child simply means accepting that the child is yours. The person to recognize the child, according to article 265 of the law governing persons and family, is that child’s father or mother. If the child’s mother or father is married to another person, they do not require that person’s permission to recognize a child.
The explanation for this, according to paragraph one article 265 of the law governing persons and family is that recognition “has effect only in respect of the spouse having recognized the child.”
This means that for instance, if a child’s father is married to a woman who is not the child’s mother, such a child has the right to care from his/her father but not necessarily the father’s wife.
Even still, the husband/wife of the person who has recognized a child has to be informed. This is important in case arrangements are to be made for the child to live with his/her parent.
If a parent abandons his/her child, that parent can later recognize the child as his/hers. However, article 267 of the law governing persons and family says that “such recognition does in no way entail restoration of his/her parental authority if the child has been adopted.”
This means that a father or mother who abandons a child cannot just show up later and take a child. This is because parenting is considered to be much more than just giving birth to a child or impregnating someone. It is about providing love, care, protection and other basic needs.
After a child has been recognized by his/her biological parent, such a child has the right to care from the parent who has claimed responsibility. This is according to article 2688 of the law governing persons and family.