According to halacha, a child's father is considered to be the halachic husband of the mother (based on Sota 27a).

Now what is the case for single parents?, e.g., a Jewish mother married only through a civil mariage to a Jewish man. She was already pregnant when she got married civilly. She says that the biological father is another Jew, and this has been confirmed by a DNA Test.

From the plan of civil law, the husband recognized the child as his son and raised him. They never got married religiously.

According to halacha who is considered to be the father? Are DNA tests relevant here? Or is the civil status recognized?

  • As far as I understand, the civil marriage and DNA tests are irrelevant, but I was under the impression that intimate relations are one of the methods of creating a halachic marriage (although it is not considered a good thing these days), and so therefore they would be halachically considered married (and I would think he should sort out a kesuvah in order to continue living with her). Commented May 15 at 10:52
  • Yes but it needs two kosher edim. When you says intimate relations, you're talking with those with the biological father or the "adoptive?
    – חיים
    Commented May 15 at 11:29
  • 2
    The father is whoever is the father of the child. It's a physical reality that has no bearing on whether someone is married or not
    – Dude
    Commented May 15 at 12:32
  • OK But how to know it without a DNA Test and the sayings of the mother are not always accepted halachically?
    – חיים
    Commented May 15 at 12:42
  • See Even Haezer 4:2 and Chelkas Mechokek there. Possibly a DNA test would be the equivalent of the "another Jew" (the one she claims is the child's biological father) admitting that it's his, in which case he's indeed considered his son for all purposes including inheritance, although that would require looking at what the poskim acharonim say on the subject.
    – Meir
    Commented May 15 at 14:06

1 Answer 1



"According to halacha, a child's father is considered to be the halachic husband of the mother (based on Sota 27a)."

Not correct. The actual halachic father of the child is whoever has relations with the mother to be able to have the child.

If she had relations with more than one person around the 7-9 months period before the child is born, then the actual, and thereby halachic, father is in question.

But the halachic father for all intents and purposes is the actual physical father of the child.

Now, when the parents are halachically married, then it's a better situation in many cases. But the fact is still the fact, that the father of the child will always be the father.

  • Thank you for yours précisions. What about the halachic acceptation of DNA Test in this case?
    – חיים
    Commented May 15 at 19:06
  • @חיים what about it? It said in the answer that if one doesn't know who had relations, and thus who the father is, that's a doubtful case. If contemporary authorities hold that a DNA test can solve that doubt, then fine. Either way, the marriage status itself doesn't determine who the father is; reality determines it Commented May 15 at 19:21
  • and does the declaration of recognition of the adoptive father to the civil status have halakhic value?
    – חיים
    Commented May 16 at 12:51
  • @חיים halachic value in terms of what? Commented May 16 at 15:58
  • As a halakhic recognition as the father as the Power to say this son is the elder for exemple
    – חיים
    Commented May 17 at 4:43

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