A PAIR of siblings who unknowingly committed incest and had a child have been recognised as parents in a landmark ruling by the French court of appeal.
Mother Rose-Marie, 46, and father Hervé, only discovered they were half-brother and sister when they applied for a birth certificate for their daughter Océane in 2009.
The couple were separated as children and raised in different foster families in the Aube region in north eastern France, according to local media.
They met in 2006 and started a relationship three years before Océane was born.
But unknown to them they shared the same mother.
French law explicitly states that if a child is born from an incestuous relationship, only one parent can be officially recognised.
The ruling overturns a decision handed down by court in Cherbourg, a port city on the French coast, on June 8 which annulled the mother's relationship to the child.
"The child's incestuous origin should not be known to everyone," the judge said at the time.
The little girl was ordered to have a new birth certificate that only recognised her father as a parent. The birth certificate had previously carried only the mother's name.
Rose-Marie appealed the decision and won.
The appeal judges ruled that there should be a double line of descent which recognises both parents, despite the incest.
"Eight-year-old Océane has lived with her mother since birth. The father does not contest the mother's parenthood and he does not appear to have kept any particularly close relationship with his daughter," the judges said.
"Annulling the mother's official recognition as a parent would have damaging consequences for the child."
It is not yet known whether the judgment will set a legal precedent.