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Parenthood in French law and filiation

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The legal filiations.
    1. Definition.
    2. How to prove the legal filiations in French law?
    3. Presumption of fatherhood of the husband.
    4. The parental authority.
  3. The natural filiations.
    1. Natural filiations by recognition.
    2. Natural filiations by a judicial decision.
    3. Consequences of the establishment of natural filiations.
    4. The rights of a child without a natural filiations.
  4. The adoptive filiations.
    1. The simple adoption.
    2. The plenary adoption.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

The purpose of this paper is first to understand French parenthood, namely the way to be the legal father or mother of a child. Investigating further, we will see whether the current legislation is modern enough or not, which will be our main question. Indeed, some scholars and politicians think that all of the French family laws have to be reformed because it takes its roots from the civil code of Napoleon from 1804 and therefore is too old . However, it is obvious that since 1804 French family law underwent various reforms. Filiation is the kinship relation between an individual and the individual's progenitors ; the legal tie between a child and his parents. French law has three kinds of filiations first of which is the legal filiations ("filiations légitime"), followed by the natural filiations (?filiations naturelle?) and finally the adoptive filiations (?filiations adoptive?). However, one has to keep in mind that it does not really matter whether the child is born in wedlock or not. Indeed, all the children are equal. Discrimination between legal and natural children has been officially abolished since the condemnation of France by the European Court of Human Rights.

[...] This might lead to strange and not acceptable situations, but the French law is thus! Indeed, the child might have two fathers: first the husband of his mother and the man who recognized him or the man found after the research of fatherhood. Because of this kind of case-law, the civil code gives the right to the judge to determine which one is the most credible father[13]. The second way to dispute the presumption of paternity, when the child does not have the ?possession d'état? is by interpreting article 322 of the civil code from a contrary position[14]. [...]

[...] French law lays down the following presumption: a child is presumed to have been conceived during the period going from three hundreds days before his birth to one hundred and eighty days before this birth[5] How to prove the legal filiations in French law? The legal filiations can be proved by two ways in the French legislation. First of all, it can be proved by the title which is the birth certificate enrolled on the registry from the city hall. [...]

[...] Consequently, French law will not acknowledge such a reform in the next years. Another problem is that the French law always wants to help people whom it considers to be a ?victim?. For example in the case of the woman living alone with a natural child, it is considered that she is a victim. That is why she is allowed to sue a lot of men, whether he could be the father or not. Moreover, since a huge mistrial (called Procès d'Outreau?), population wants a reform of justice, especially juvenile justice and family law. [...]

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