Digital acknowledgement of parenthood as of 1 January 2022
Beginning on 1 January 2022, it will be possible to confirm your parenthood through an easy e-service. This means that new, unmarried parents who are in the population register in Sweden can register their parenthood with their computer or mobile phone in the first 14 days after the child’s birth. It will also be possible to register joint custody in this e-service.
Until now, the only way to confirm parenthood for the parent who did not give birth to the child was to visit the family law unit of the municipality in which the child is registered.
The acknowledgement is important because the confirmed parenthood means that the child is legally tied to the father/parent who did not give birth to the child. In connection with the new law on digital acknowledgement of parenthood entering into effect on 1 January 2022, new parents can take care of this through a simple e-service on the Swedish Tax Agency website (see link below). This saves time and resources for both the parents and the municipalities, and provides the security of having two legal parents.
However, it is important to point out that one can still make an acknowledgement by visiting the family law unit if the parents prefer to, or if there is any uncertainty regarding parenthood or rules.
Beginning on 1 January, you can use an e-service where you can confirm your parenthood on Skatteverket.se. Here is the link to the e-service in Swedish External link, opens in new window.
Background to the legal amendment
More than half of all children born in Sweden have unmarried parents. When an unmarried woman gives birth to a child, who the other parent is shall be determined. Parenthood therefore needs to be established through an acknowledgement or judgment for the majority of all newborns. In connection with the new acknowledgement possibility, the law is also being adapted to what family structures look like in today’s society, and all kinds of parenthood: fatherhood, parenthood in same-sex relationships and father- and motherhood when one of the parents or both have changed their gender identity.
FAQ - Frequently asked questions
The person confirming parenthood is accepting parental responsibility for the child. This parental responsibility means ensuring that the child receives good care, security and upbringing.
Through the acknowledgement, a legal connection is established between the child and the person confirming parenthood. This legal connection has a number of different advantages for the child – it entails a right to inheritance, maintenance, visitation, name, nationality, etc.
An acknowledgement also means that the child will be made aware of his or her origins, which is important for every individual's self-esteem and development.
Parenthood that has been established through acknowledgement cannot be renounced and can only be annulled by a court.
For it to be possible to make a digital acknowledgement on the Swedish Tax Agency website, the following criteria must be met:
- Both parents must be legally competent and in the population register when the child is born.
- The child must be entered in the population register when the acknowledgement is made.
- The acknowledgement must be submitted and approved no later than 14 days after the birth of the child.
- Both parents must have access to electronic identification (Bank ID)
- The possibility of a digital acknowledgement of parenthood can be used if the child was born on or after 1 January 2022.
For those who meet these requirements, it is possible to make a digital acknowledgement on the Swedish Tax Agency website as soon as the child is entered in the population register and has been assigned a personal ID number. For those who do not meet these requirements, an acknowledgement can be made with the social welfare board of the municipality in which the child is registered.
Parents who are married with each other do not need to make any acknowledgement. The person who did not give birth to the child is assumed to be the child’s parent. For same-sex parents, this applies to children born after 1 January 2022.
Note: If a digital acknowledgement is not made within 14 days of the child’s birth, the person who gave birth to the child will be contacted by the social welfare board of the municipality in which the child is registered. It is also possible to contact the social welfare board before the child is born if a digital acknowledgement will not be made.
With a digital acknowledgement, the person who did not give birth to the child enters information in an e-service on the Swedish Tax Agency website and signs it with e-identification. Then, the person who gave birth to the child approves the acknowledgement by signing the e-service with e-identification.
If there are doubts about the information to be provided in the e-service, a digital acknowledgement should not be made. The parties should then instead contact the social welfare board for an investigation and acknowledgement of the parenthood.
If the child was conceived through intercourse
If the child was conceived through intercourse, information shall be provided on the date that the child was born and how much the child weighed at birth. A function in the e-service then provides a period within which the intercourse that led to the child’s conception took place and it is possible for those making the acknowledgement to determine if the child is theirs together.
If there are doubts about the information to be provided in the e-service, a digital acknowledgement should not be made. The parties can then instead contact the social welfare board for an investigation and acknowledgement of the parenthood.
If the child was conceived through artificial insemination
If the child was conceived through artificial insemination, the following criteria must be met for a paternity or parenthood to be confirmed:
- The person who gave birth to the child and the person who did not give birth to the child were living together, were registered partners or were married when the artificial insemination was done,
- There must be a consent to artificial insemination from the person who did not give birth to the child,
- It must be probable that the child was conceived through artificial insemination,
- The treatment was carried out within licensed Swedish healthcare or at a licensed facility abroad,
- The child shall have the right to access information on the sperm donor (donors may not be anonymous).
If there are doubts about any of the above criteria, a digital acknowledgement should not be made. The parties can then instead contact the social welfare board for an investigation and acknowledgement of the paternity or parenthood.
Adoption an alternative
If it is established that any of the above criteria is not met, an acknowledgement can also not be made at the social welfare board. An adoption would then be necessary in order to establish a legal tie between the child and the person who did not give birth to the child. An application for adoption is then initiated instead with a contact with the family law unit of the municipality.
If the child was conceived through intercourse, it is not possible for anyone other than the man to acknowledge parenthood. If the child was conceived through artificial insemination, a digital acknowledgement shall not be made in the following cases:
- If the couple did not live together, were not registered partners or were not married at the time of the artificial insemination.
- If there is no consent from a cohabiting partner to the artificial insemination with donated sperm.
- If the artificial insemination with donated sperm was not done within Swedish healthcare or was done at a healthcare facility abroad that is not licensed to perform the treatment.
- If the child conceived through artificial insemination with donated sperm does not have the right to access information about the sperm donor.
- If the child was conceived through at-home insemination (then the person whose sperm was used can make an acknowledgement)
- If there is uncertainty regarding the parenthood based on the conception period or other circumstances.
In these cases or if there are other questions, the family law unit of the municipality in which the child is registered shall be contacted. They then conduct an in-depth investigation to determine who the child’s other parent is.
Parents who are married with each other do not need to make any acknowledgement. The person who did not give birth to the child is assumed to be the child’s parent. For same-sex parents, this applies to children born on or after 1 January 2022.
An acknowledgement can be annulled if the information provided is not correct. This applies regardless of whether the acknowledgement is made digitally or at a visit to the social welfare board. An annulled acknowledgement means that the legal tie between the child and the person who did not give birth to the child is broken. There is no time limit for when a confirmation can be annulled.
The issue of an incorrect acknowledgement’s validity can arise when the parents separate or be raised by heirs to the person who acknowledged the parenthood upon death. The social welfare board can act when it becomes aware that an acknowledgement may be incorrect.
If there are doubts about the information to be provided, a digital acknowledgement should not be made. The parties can then instead contact the municipality’s family law unit for an investigation and acknowledgement of the paternity or parenthood.
Married parents have joint custody of the child from the child’s birth. For same-sex parents, or parents where one or both have changed gender identity, this applies for children born on or after 1 January 2022. If the parents are not married, the person who gave birth to the child becomes the sole guardian at the child’s birth.
Beginning on 1 January 2022, it will be possible for unmarried parents to register joint custody digitally in connection with the acknowledgement of parenthood. The Swedish Tax Agency makes a decision on joint custody and then registers it in the population register.
A registration of joint custody can be made in connection with an acknowledgement at the family law unit of the municipality in which the child is registered.
It is also possible under certain circumstances to register joint custody with the Swedish Tax Agency at a later date. The parents can also contact the social welfare board or a court if they do not agree on the custody.
What does custody of a child entail?
All children under 18 years of age must be in the custody of one or two adults. It is most often the child’s parents, or one of them, who has custody of the child.
Custody is a legal term. Having custody of a child entails certain obligations, such as ensuring that the child receives the care, security and upbringing that the child needs and ensuring that the child does not fare poorly. The guardian also has the right and the obligation to decide on personal issues that are important to the child, such as with regard to the child’s education and where the child shall live. The older the child becomes, the greater consideration shall be taken to what the child wants.
What does joint custody entail?
Joint custody means that the parents jointly have a legal custodial responsibility for their child. The parents must jointly decide on issues concerning the child.
The new rules on digital acknowledgement mean that the social welfare board's obligation to investigate who the child’s other parent is does not occur until 15 days after the child’s birth (Chapter 2 Section 1 of the Parental Code). However, there is nothing that prevents the social welfare board from initiating an investigation within this time or already before the child’s birth. If an acknowledgement is made at the social welfare board, it is thereafter not possible to make an acknowledgement digitally. The new rules on digital acknowledgement do not entail any change in the way the social welfare board investigates and establishes who the child’s other parent is.
Once the digital acknowledgement has been signed by both parents, it is established who the child’s other parent is. Establishment upon a digital acknowledgement accordingly takes place without the social welfare board or another authority examining it. There will consequently be no documentation at the municipalities if the acknowledgement has been made digitally. The child’s right to knowledge about his or her origins has been deemed to be considered met through current rules that there shall be an annotation of the donor in a special record and that the social welfare board is obliged to help the child find out if there is information noted in such a record.
The purpose of the introduction of digital acknowledgement is to achieve a more modern way of making acknowledgements. Digital acknowledgements are assumed to lead to more children more quickly obtaining two legal parents and that the rights of the child are thereby strengthened. It is cases that can be described as uncomplicated that are expected to be handled within the scope of digital acknowledgements (Government bill 2020/21:176 p.38 ff). It can therefore be presumed that the consequence of the possibility of digital acknowledgements will be that these uncomplicated cases will be fewer in number at the social welfare boards.
Beginning on 1 January 2022, there will be an e-service on the Swedish Tax Agency website that you can use for digital acknowledgement of paternity if you meet the criteria. There is also clear information for each step in the acknowledgement.
The address to the service is: skatteverket.se/bekräftaföräldraskap External link, opens in new window. Link to another website, opens in a new window. (the web address works both with and without umlauts). Note that this e-service will not be activated until the new law enters into effect.