European Convention on the Legal Status of Children born out of Wedlock

(ETS no. 085)

Open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, on 15 October 1975.

Entry into force: 11 August 1978.

Summary of the treaty

The object of the rules embodied in this Convention is to bring the legal status of children born out of wedlock into line with that of children born in wedlock and thereby to contribute to the harmonisation of the relevant legislation of Parties. However, as not all Parties are able to achieve this objective immediately, the Convention provides for a system of reservations enabling Parties to work towards it gradually. Reservations may be made in respect of a maximum of three of the nine articles entailing an obligation, but such reservations are valid for a maximum of five years, after which they have to be reconsidered. The Convention's main provisions relate to paternal and maternal affiliation, recognition, denial and contesting of paternity, the assignment of parental responsibilities and the children's succession rights.