Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

Not to put father's name on the birth certificate?

(78 Posts)
chesterberry Sun 30-Jun-13 20:18:18

Ex-partner and I had been together just over three years when I found out I was pregnant (32 weeks along now) and living together for 6 months. We definitely were not planning on having children yet and baby was not planned but I was excited when I found out.

Unfortunately ex did not share the excitement. Initially he insisted it couldn't be his as we were using contraception (condoms) and then when he finally came around to the idea that it was he started trying to persuade me to have an abortion. Things came to a head when he came home one night having had too many drinks and started threatening me, saying he's been hoping I'd miscarry and that if I didn't have an abortion he'd get rid of it himself. He didn't actually do anything to physically hurt me and that was very out of character for him (I realise finding out he was going to be a father was putting him under a huge amount of stress) but after that things ended quickly and he moved out. He has since gone back to his home town over 300 miles away (we met at uni and had stayed in our uni area after graduating, along with lots of our friends). He has been quite clear that he wants nothing to do with me or the baby and has gone back to saying it isn't his. He's 26 (as am I) so young but not young enough to excuse this behaviour IMO.

The baby is definitely his, but even so after he left I decided I won't be putting his name on the birth certificate (I will leave it blank) as he clearly wants nothing to do with the baby and I don't think I would trust him with the baby if he were to turn around in 6 months and say he wants access. Most of my friends and family agree that after the way he has acted it is reasonable not to put his name on the birth certificate as he has been very clear that he does not want to be a father to this baby, however I have one friend in particular who feels very strongly that it would be very unreasonable of me not to put his name on the certificate as it means if he realises in years to come he has made a mistake it will be more difficult for him to gain parental rights and see his child. My feeling is that this would be a good thing - I don't really want him to turn around and demand access to my baby in the future, disrupting our lives, because it suits him after he has so definitely decided he wants nothing to do with us now and am worried he could use those access rights to make things difficult, for example were I to find a new partner.

I will always be honest to my child about who his/her dad is regardless of whether his name is on the birth certificate, I would not deny my child that right, and if when s/he is older they want to meet him I would not be against that. I have stayed in touch with his mother also and she will come down to visit her new grandchild with his sister when the baby is born, so I am not denying the baby that side of his/her family either. Is my reasoning for not putting his name on the birth certificate, largely because I don't want him to be able to turn around in 3 years time and start demanding to see his child just because he's heard I'm with a new partner (for example), purely selfish? Am I being unreasonable? People's thoughts or own experiences would be very welcomed. Thanks.

Ginderella Sun 30-Jun-13 20:50:03

Are you going to bother him for child support? Have you thought of a complete and clear break? He has no automatic right to see your child - the child has a right to see his/her parents.

JackNoneReacher Sun 30-Jun-13 20:50:37

whatever you think of him, that would be a good thing.

I disagree, from your description of this abusive man I think you'd (both) be better off without him.

chesterberry Sun 30-Jun-13 20:51:45

I guess it does seem fair to give him the opportunity to have his name on the birth certificate, although I expect he will say no and won't want to travel down here to do it. Unfortunately he has had a major falling out with his mum over this whole situation (I have told her she doesn't need to pick sides and I will let her see her grandchild regardless but she says she is just so disappointed in him and how he's acted she can hardly bear to be around him) and they were very close so if she hasn't got him to change his mind yet I don't think anything will.

In terms of CSA I wasn't planning on asking for any, I was hoping if I didn't acknowledge him as the father anywhere legally it would make it very difficult for him to turn around in years to come wanting to be involved, but is that not the case? He would definitely want a DNA test but baby is 100% his so that's fine. My worry though is that if I am asking him for money he is more likely to turn around and demand access to make things difficult whereas if I don't want anything from him hopefully he won't get in contact unless he feels a genuine desire to see his baby. If he has a genuine desire to know his child I would never stop that, but it is just the fear of him using the child to have control over a part of my life in years to come that worries me.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 30-Jun-13 20:54:58

my fathers name isn't on my bc, and I don't know who he is. Sometimes I wished I'd had his name so at least I would know who he was.
OP you can't run your life round a weasel like him, he doesn't deserve to be on your childs certificate. smile

katydid02 Sun 30-Jun-13 20:55:41

Leave it off; he won't have parental responsibility and you will have a lot less headaches as a result.

Lioninthesun Sun 30-Jun-13 21:02:26

Sorry was thinking of Milliband blush
Thanks AJ
It makes not a jot of difference legally as to his rights if he pays or not. It can be a ballache to get the letters from CSA but if he lives miles away he will hardly be moving nearer to 'participate' with a child he really doesn't want. It would be too much like hard work. My ex pays £13 per week and took us to Court (before he was paying £90 per week and the Judge confirmed as bio dad he is to pay - no surprise there) so he 'lost' his job and now has one where 15% of his wage is apparently £13 per week instead hmm and yet still manages to live in London... I do it for DD. I know ex is a waster but also know at some point in the future one or both of them will be curious to meet. Either way, at least he can pretend he attempted to do SOMETHING for her even if that was due to me calling CSA in the first place

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 30-Jun-13 21:09:48

Feel free to check this with a law person.

In the uk having his name on any formal or legal document other than a birth cert or court order makes no difference at all to any future attempt he may or may not make with regard to your child.

Csa makes no difference at all with contact

A unmarried named on the birth cert father has certain responsibilities most of these are none enforceable BY you only claim able by him even if he's just doing it to wind you up.

You cannot make him...

Act like a dad
Have any contact
Be reasonable

The only thing you can make him do ( if he is not self employed or a tosser who job jumps) is pay the csa assessment.

Without PR he can do nothing to you or your child without your consent with PR

He can stop you moving house.prevent you going on holiday outside of the uk,collect your child from school as long as he/she goes willingly without you knowing and access any and all information regarding your child,make a school deny one of your instructions in favour of his refusal (LA rules state they have to side with the person refusing consent unless its a cp issue).

Should he wish to step up and be a dad at any time in the future he can either request you sign a PR agreement or take you to court to obtain a PR order and should his intentions be vindictive you can choose to challenge it.

Why give him the ability before you have any knowledge of his intentions.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 30-Jun-13 21:13:17

And maintainance having no relation to contact works both ways not paying wont stop him paying wont make getting it easier.

"I have one friend in particular who feels very strongly that it would be very unreasonable of me not to put his name on the certificate as it means if he realises in years to come he has made a mistake it will be more difficult for him to gain parental rights and see his child. "
Why is this friend so concerned with HIS rights?

chesterberry Sun 30-Jun-13 21:37:38

Oh, I didn't realise having his name on the birth certificate would give him so many rights. I thought it was just a case of the contact he is entitled to, I didn't realise so much other stuff would come into it regarding the child. In that case I am even less keen to have his name on it.

If he applies for Parental Rights in the future, having not been on the birth certificate, is he pretty much guaranteed them? My thinking is that one of the reasons he is so vehemently denying this baby is anything to do with him is that he does not want to have to pay anything. We had plans to go travelling next year and had both been saving for that - I think he has about £6000 in savings. Obviously I have cancelled that plan and the money I saved (not as much as he managed unfortunately as he also got some inheritance money) will now go towards baby but I think he still has dreams of travelling the world and doesn't want anything to get in the way of that. I think he is worried about having to give his savings to me and the baby and cancel his future plans so I am worried if I force him to pay he will feel more anger towards him and thus be more likely to get parental rights out of spite. I am really hoping if I ignore the fact he exists completely and don't ask for anything he will be less inclined to become involved for fear that as soon as he applies for any rights I will start chasing him for money, although obviously the fact his mum and sister want to be involved in baby's life is a bit of a worry as I can't just try and lose contact with him completely. Although as I said if he wants to become involved to get to know baby that is fine, it is just the aspect of him being able to have control of my and baby's life (especially in light of what sockreturningpixie said) that makes me concerned.

Kind of wish I'd lied and said baby was someone else's when he first suggested it now! Would have made things a lot easier.

chesterberry Sun 30-Jun-13 21:45:05

Whereyouleftit - Why is this friend so concerned with HIS rights?

We share a lot of mutual friends. Some of them (largely the ones I trusted enough to give the whole story) have decided they don't want to see him any more but some of them remain friends with both of us and I certainly haven't asked anybody to pick sides or become involved. Most of the friends who remain friends with both of us still see my point of view in thinking that ex has made his choice by walking out on me and baby and has as such given up his right to automatic recognition as the parent, but this particular friend (still in contact with my ex) believes very strongly every father should have the right to see his child regardless of his behaviour because everybody deserves a second chance. As it is I will explain that it's not my choice as ex has to turn up to register brith and just keep my fingers crossed that nobody manages to persuade him to come down to sign birth certificate.

Burmillababe Sun 30-Jun-13 21:46:43

YABU - if he wants his name on it, unfortunately that is his right, even if he is a tosser. A birth certificate is just a statement, it doesn't give him parental responsibility ( and it sounds like he won't step up anyway). Personally I feel like you owe it to your child. Just my opinion though.

Lioninthesun Sun 30-Jun-13 21:53:02

Don't feel you have to tell any of them about how he can use his name on it to control you though! If you do they will think he will want to be on it even if it is just to make your life harder - or they might do anyway. Just state he has to be there to be on it and leave it at that. If he knows the date and time then it is up to him to look into it further and see if he wants the power over you that goes with it.

"this particular friend (still in contact with my ex) believes very strongly every father should have the right to see his child regardless of his behaviour because everybody deserves a second chance."
Ah, I see. I suppose I've never been big on 'parental rights'. Children have rights, parents have responsibilities. Which your ex is abdicating from.

Lioninthesun Sun 30-Jun-13 22:00:32

Really, if he is going to be an arse then he will be, regarless of whether he is paying for DC or not.
Ex saw DD right up until CSA contacted him when she was 6mo and hasn't seen her since. Even pretended to me that a solicitor had advised him not to to help his tribunal case hmm. My point is the arsehole-type men never read up and all seem to expect if they don't see the child they don't have to pay. Some may feel if they are paying they get to see the child and start being a pest, but most will give up when they realise seeing the child also means looking after it and having to give up free time/weekends.

Burmillababe Sun 30-Jun-13 22:00:42

And if you have concerns about him then you can stop him having any contact, through legal channels if necessary - write down any abusive behaviour with dates, times etc just in case.

Snazzywaitingforsummer Sun 30-Jun-13 22:03:19

I would leave it alone. If he is bothered he will make the effort when the baby arrives to get his name on the certificate. Given the way he has behaved I don't think he deserves to have you chasing after him to get him to participate.

ladylambkin Sun 30-Jun-13 22:03:51

If you make a claim through CSA they will contact him firstly by phone to confirm parentage of the child. If they cant get him on the phone they will send a Maintenance Enquiry Form to him by post if he does not return this then parentage will be presumed. If he questions parentage DNA testing will be offered which he must pay for. In cases where the man is proven not to be the father then this fee does not need to be paid. If after a maintenance calculation is in place and he disputes parentage then he needs to apply to the court for Declaration of Non Parentage...it is too late at this point to have DNA testing through CSA.

Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and good luck with your new arrival.

queenofthepirates Japan Sun 30-Jun-13 22:24:02

Just wanted to add that I think you are doing marvellously well in the circumstances. It can't be easy for you but you seem to be coping admirably.

Parenting isn't a right, it's a privilege. As the responsible parent, I feel you have the right to decide whether your ex's name goes on the BC. If you have no wish to poke the bear then don't. Single parenting is full of its own unique challenges and really need not be further complicated by a man who refuses to live up to his responsibilities. Your choice and you decide. He has no right and you have no moral obligation given his behaviour.

pickledthing Sun 30-Jun-13 22:31:32

Being the natural father does not necessarily give a father any parental rights

Babies need to be registered within six weeks of being born

More couples are becoming parents without making any legal commitment to each other as partners. Being unmarried will mean that a father will have no automatic rights as a parent – he will have to take action to acquire those rights.

How your child’s birth is registered, and who is there to register the birth, will have an impact on who will have Parental Responsibility (the right to be responsible for a child).

Birth registration
Registering the birth of your child
The birth should be registered within 42 days (six weeks) of the baby being born.

All original birth certificates require the details of the biological mother and where possible the biological father.

Birth registration is also tied up with Parental Responsibility. Parental Responsibility is something that all mothers have automatically, and all fathers if they are present at birth registration or if they were married to the mother at the time of birth.

Who should register the birth?
If the mother and father were married at the time of the birth, either can register the birth on their own.

If the mother and father are unmarried, responsibility for registering the birth is the mother’s.

If an unmarried father is not present and does not sign the register, his details will not be included on the birth certificate and he will not gain Parental Responsibility for his child, unless:

He makes a statutory declaration acknowledging that he is the father, which the mother must give to the registrar, or
A parental responsibility agreement or court order has been made and this document is presented at the register office.
An unmarried father may register the birth of his child without the mother if:

She makes a statutory declaration acknowledging him as the father of the child, or
He brings along a parental responsibility agreement or a court order.
An unmarried father may have his details included at a later date by re-registering the birth.

Further information
For more information go to the Directgov website.

Parental responsibility
What is parental responsibility?
Parental Responsibility (PR) is a legal term.

PR is defined in the Children Act 1989 as “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authorities which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

Without it, you don’t have any right to be involved in decisions such as where the child lives, their education, religion or medical treatment. A father with Parental Responsibility can also have more of a say in whether their child is taken out of the country.

From 1st December 2003, fathers who register a child’s birth with the mother automatically gained Parental Responsibility. However this only applies to children who are registered after 1st December 2003.

If a father’s name was put on your birth certificate before 1st December 2003, he will not have parental responsibility unless he has either been married to the child’s mother or he has obtained it by court order or agreement. If a father’s name was not on the birth certificate before 1st December 2003, he can apply with the mothers agreement to re-register the child’s birth.

You automatically have PR if:
You are the biological mother of the child.
You are the father of the child and are married to (or later marry) the mother.
You are an unmarried father and are registered on the birth certificate; this applies only to those births registered since December 1 2003.
You have adopted the child.
You must take steps to acquire PR if:
You are an unmarried father and are not registered on the birth certificate.
You are not the biological parent, even if your partner is.
Ways to get PR:
If you are the biological father, you can act with the mother to re-register the birth to include your details on the birth certificate.
If you are the biological father, you can make a PR agreement with the mother’s consent.
If you are the biological father and the mother refuses to make a PR agreement, you can apply to the court for a PR order.
If you are the partner of the biological parent and your partner’s child lives with you, you can get PR in one of a number of ways:

you can ask the court for a Residence Order;
you can make a PR agreement with consent from the child’s parents;
you can apply for a court order; or,
you can apply for an Adoption Order.
Further information
The Directgov websitevhas more information on parental rights and responsibilities.

Child maintenance
As a parent, your financial responsibility for your child does not end when your relationship with the other parent ends.

Child maintenance is regular financial support towards a child’s everyday living costs. It is paid by the parent without the main day-to-day care of the child to the parent with the main care. Since April 10 2010, all parents with the main day-to-day care have been allowed to keep all of their child maintenance without it affecting out-of-work benefits.

You have two options for arranging maintenance: a private arrangement; or a statutory (legal) arrangement. The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission was formed in 2008 to provide help in setting up both kinds of arrangements. This help is delivered through the Child Maintenance Options service and the Child Support Agency.

Child maintenance can be arranged privately between yourselves without any official or legal intervention, and this can be done in whichever way is best suited to your circumstances. Free help and tools are available to set up this kind of “family-based child maintenance arrangement” from the Child Maintenance Options service.

If you are not able to reach an agreement between yourselves, it is still possible to arrange maintenance through the Child Support Agency (CSA). There are plans to create a new statutory service but, until then, the CSA is still available.

Further information
Child Maintenance Options offers impartial information and advice to help parents make informed choices about child maintenance. Helpline 0800 988 0988 or text CALL to 66644 for a free call back.

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is the statutory body responsible for the child maintenance system.

tiggytape Sun 30-Jun-13 22:36:16

If he applies for Parental Rights in the future, having not been on the birth certificate, is he pretty much guaranteed them?

Yes he can get PR later even if his name is on nothing official at any stage before that. Being granted PR gives him rights to an input in things like medical decisions and schooling but doesn't mean he gets to override you or turn up years later and start laying down the law. You don't have to agree to it but a court can order it. He doesn't need his name on the birth certificate to get it.

He hasn't given you much choice though - its not as if you've left him and if he won't register the baby with you his name cannot go on the certificate even if you want it there.

chesterberry Sun 30-Jun-13 22:40:46

Thanks everybody. It has been hard, the sad thing is that we had talked about having children (although always in the far far future) and I thought he would make a great dad. Up to this we rarely had any arguments, it is like he changed into a completely different person when he found out about the pregnancy. I think that made it both harder and easier - harder because I lost the person I loved but it was easier, ultimately, to leave him after some of the things he said and did as I felt I hardly knew him any more.

One of our mutual friends has hypothesised that finding out I was pregnant almost sent him into a kind of state of grieving for the future we had planned and that is why his response has been anger, denial and trying to change things back to how they were with talk of abortion etc. Maybe that is true and I do kind of feel sorry for him, but I wish he had been able to welcome the baby as an opportunity for a different kind of future rather than an end to his plans.

But otherwise I think I am lucky, have very supportive family, friends and work (am just about to complete NQT year as a teacher and am lucky baby is due in summer hols) and his mum has been brilliant. Things could definitely be a lot worse and although being a single mum isn't how I planned it to be I will have lots of support around me so hopefully will manage. So exciting to feel the baby moving and think that in a couple of months s/he will be here!

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 30-Jun-13 22:46:28

I've had a similar situation, except my DS was planned and my ex left for the OW when I was pregnant. He's never wanted anything to do with DS. I registered the birth alone and he's not on the BC. DS has my surname, too thank god smile.

Lioninthesun Sun 30-Jun-13 22:56:46

Single parenthood is a hard road but you sound pretty strong and sensible.
I always think with everything that it is better to prepare for the worst case though and then hope to be pleasantly surprised. I think the advice here has been good and you have a better understanding of where you stand, and where he does, or can if he wants to.

I wish you lots of luck and do also post in Lone Parents for advice or support if you need it at any point. We don't bite! smile

Yanbu at all, although his name wouldn't be put on unless he was with you anyway as you are not married. Hope everythings works well for you and your little one.
It will be a hard road, but many mothers go it alone and things will settle into place for you. Congratulations op on your pregnancythanks

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now