800 'cuckoo children' a year

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There are calls to change the paternity laws.

If a man suspects a child is not his, he must register a dispute before the child is 5 years old – after that, it becomes impossible to change the man’s legal standing – and he will be recognised as the father.

The laws were written in the seventies, before widespread DNA testing. 

One man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that he suspected his wife’s child was not his, as the boy looked like a family friend. But the mother refused a DNA test and it wasn’t until the child was 12 when it was proven he wasn’t the father. But it’s now too late to legally change his status.

It’s not uncommon – it’s thought that at least 4% of births are so called ‘cuckoo children’.

That’s 800 kids every year. 

Many politicians realise the law needs to catch up with technology. But it won’t be until next year at the earliest that parliament will be able to debate it, says the Federal Office of Justice.

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