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Birth plan for my illegitimate baby :)

(55 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

Charingcrossbun Mon 27-Jan-14 19:00:24

Just had a thought: I'm going to write a birth plan (even though I realise these things can't be planned). It just occurred to me though as we're not married do I need to put something about DP being the dad, my next of kin and having the right to make decisions should it all go wrong & I not be able to (worst case scenario I know). Am I being silly? I don't suppose husbands are asked to bring marriage certificates along but just thought I'd check. grin

DinoSnores Mon 27-Jan-14 19:06:57

I think the MWs are well used to "illegitimate babies" in this day and age! wink

As for next of kin and making decisions, it can be whoever you want it to be as there is no real legal definition of a next of kin in terms of making most medical decisions. The doctors would discuss their decision/options with your partner but it wouldn't be left to your DP to decide everything while the doctors look blankly on.

No one can sign a consent form on your behalf except the doctor in charge of your care, so, say as we are doing worst case scenarios, someone had collapsed and needed an emergency section, it is the doctor who fills in a form saying that you are not capable of making a decision and this has been deemed in your best interests. Doctors don't make decisions in isolation of course and would always, if time allowed, speak to your next of kin/relevant family members.

peeapod Mon 27-Jan-14 19:10:28

im making a will before babies born as a just incase, and babies father and i are married smile

LittleLight82 Mon 27-Jan-14 19:25:25

Not wanting to scaremonger- I'm not sure about the legalities in the UK but I'm from Ireland and just recently found out (via a tragic case in Dublin) that unmarried dads have no legal right of guardianship to their children. So if something awful happens to mum during labour, baby is effectively kin-less unless mum has made a will. In the case here the state had to intervene to request decisions on the baby's care in court despite his dad and grandmother being in full agreement about treatment. I was gobsmacked (and utterly furious)!

So looks like I'll be making a will appointing my partner and daddy of our little illegitorino legal guardian should anything happen to me. Once she's born apparently we have to fill out a legal form appointing him joint guardian with me and have it signed by a justice of the something or other. Seemingly lots of unmarried couples in Ireland aren't aware of this and so if, say, the relationship ends, the dad has absolutely no rights of access to the child. It's horrendous.

Like I say this is only the case in Ireland and I don't know whether this is an issue at all in the UK. But for any Irish couples reading this the Treoir.ie website has information on all the above!

Clargo55 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:07:09

It's the same in the UK Little.

The father has no parental rights unless they are married to the mother or on the birth certificate. So if a mother was to unfortunately die in labour/ just after birth, a partner would have no rights. In this instance I think Social Services step in to try and resolve.

This is the reason we got married, to avoid any problems.

Not sure about the legalities of him being your next of kin though.

chocolatedrops31 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:08:05

That's true in the UK in cases where dad is not on the child's birth certificate (where couple are not married). Not sure though what the position is pre birth certificate, I.e. during child birth..not sure if it's been tested yet!

chocolatedrops31 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:09:07

Sorry clargo55-think we cross posted

Clargo55 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:11:30


Sorry don't know how to do clickable links on my iPad. That has a few bits about parental rights for your partner.

Would you fancy popping to a registry office and making it 'official' before baby arrives? It makes things much easier financial and legally, now and in the long run.

BasilandLime Mon 27-Jan-14 20:12:54

Geez! Do u have to use that word?

Foxeym Mon 27-Jan-14 20:17:35

That's correct, I was told by my solicitor that god forbid should anything happen to me as my DP and I aren't married legal responsibility for my DC automatically falls to my parents as my legal next of kin!

By far the easiest and safest thing to do is to get married. Nobody even needs to done you've done it but if anything goes badly wrong it puts your man in a far stronger position. In most cases parents and partners will be in agreement but worst case scenario is that something happens to you and your partner has to fight - fight to ensure you are treated as he believes you would have wished and for his child. It's avoidable and even if you trust your parents implicitly I would always advise people to tie the know if they can. It's just the easiest option.

I have a friend whose partner is on the bc for their daughter but who has no rights AT ALL to her other daughter who lives with them and who he is a father to and has been for the last umpteen years in every sense except biologically. It's a very vulnerable position to be in.

Athrawes Mon 27-Jan-14 20:38:41

Personally I'd have thought it easier to pop into the registry office in jeans and a jumper in your lunchbreak and pay the paltry sum to have a marriage certificate witnessed by a pair of strangers (whose day you will make!) than pay some leach lawyer 200 pounds to draw up a will which could then be contested by your family.
Sadly marriage holds the trump card.

I eloped and it was fabulous!

Hawkmoth Mon 27-Jan-14 20:40:27

Slight tangent, but it can be worth putting "call us Don and Fiona"... Or whatever in your birth plan. "Mum and Dad" can be a bit tiresome.

grobagsforever Mon 27-Jan-14 20:50:46

Oh for petes sake, surely common sense would prevail? SS are hardly going to separate a child from its father.

Charingcrossbun Mon 27-Jan-14 20:53:47

Wow! Thanks ladies
Food for thought!
Basilandlime I was joking with my thread title - don't worry won't be referring to DC as an illegitimate bastard grin
The thought of a secret marriage is interesting.... I'm really not a wedding fan and I just hate the fact that you have to use the term wife (totally know this is a weird view to have and the majority of people are 100% fine with it -
i kind of wosh i was but it makes my insides squirm at the thought...) I guess I'd never heard a good argument before but cheaper than getting a lawyer is pretty simple and compelling.....
I really wish I could have a civil partnership soo much more palatable (again sorry I know that's controversial - but it would be fairer!

You can still describe one another as 'partner'.

Grobags - ultimately no, I don't think they would, assuming that the father can show he was in a relationship and isn't about to serve 50 years for murdering the mother etc etc. The point is though why have to jump through hoops and stress and upset when you don't need to. Nobody can argue with a marriage certificate. Not parents, not siblings. It's just the easiest, most foolproof and ^cheapest6 way of getting the result the Op wants.

Clargo55 Mon 27-Jan-14 21:35:08

Grobag, I have read about a case where a father had to go through the courts to get parental rights and custody of his son after the mother died in child birth.

Will try to google a link.

It is rare and I guess it changes by county as to what agency's involvements would be.

Clargo55 Mon 27-Jan-14 21:40:19


Sorry I cannot do clickable links on iPad. This mentions a case in the UK where a unmarried mother dies in child birth. The father was not allowed to take the baby home and had to gain parental rights through the courts.

Clargo55 Mon 27-Jan-14 21:45:33

Also read point two in this link


Outlines all the things a father cannot do without parental rights and why it would be unsuitable to just had the baby over without parental rights being obtained.

It also states the courts usually favour the father. But they are not always granted parental responsibility and it can get messy if other family members try to also gain responsibility.

Obviously it's very rare to die in childbirth and very likely if you did the courts would grant parental responsibility to your partner. However, I really think its worth just having a quick registry office wedding thus ensuring if the worst we're to happen they wouldn't be separated for any amount of time.

mel0dy Mon 27-Jan-14 22:40:21

Bloody hell all this is disturbing. I absolutely refuse to allow the state to bully me into getting married, but I don't want DP to be

mel0dy Mon 27-Jan-14 22:41:24

...vulnerable should something awful happen. (Stoopid phone). Arg!

mousmous Mon 27-Jan-14 22:46:51

that's exactly why dh and I got married before dc1 arrived.
cost us 100£ at the registry office and we had a nice meal at wagamama a cheap chain restaurant afterwards.

Shellywelly1973 Mon 27-Jan-14 22:53:40

I never married Exdp. Recently drew up a new will. There is no one to take my 3 dc & new baby due this week.

They would go into care should something happen to me. Exdp doesn't want a relationship with any of the dc. He doesn't want his name on the new baby's birth certificate. Actually his name is only on our older 2 dc birth certificates.

It's a horrible state of affairs that i have no control over & have to accept.

I can see why he's your ex! What sort of man abandons his dcs? shock

Clargo55 Tue 28-Jan-14 09:34:29

That's crap Shelly sad Hope it all goes well for you when new baby arrives thanks

Do you have anyone in RL? Sister/brother even trusted friend?

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 13:47:27

Can't believe that this thread still contains the I word.


I thought that mumsnet would come along and amend the title. It's not a valid piece of terminology anymore, as since 1984, thanks to some EU regulation I think, children have the same rights whether or not their parents are married. It's the adults who will have fewer rights.

bakingaddict Tue 28-Jan-14 14:01:48


I don't see how a standard will could be legally contested by the family. I doubt the OP is of unsound mind or is signing the will under duress or whatever the criteria is to overturn a will.

Even if you get married, it's still prudent to do a will regarding guardianship of children just in case of the remote possibility that both of you may be involved in a tragic accident.

Basil I think it was always clear the OP had her tongue in cheek with the title and even if it wasn't clear she has now made it so and addressed you directly. I really don't think you need to be overly concerned.

flatmum Tue 28-Jan-14 16:04:04

I have 3 dc with my partner of almost 20 years and he is named as father on all 3 birth certificates so has parental responsibility for them all. We also both have wills where we indicate that everything (including the dc!) passes to the surviving partner in the event of one of our deaths and we have named their guardians (my sister and her husband) should we both die. Nobody would contest this as everyone knows this is what we want.

I don't see why you can't do the will before the birth to cover that period between the birth and registration.

I agree about being bullied into marriage. Apart from this issue, which can be covered with a will, the only disadvantage as it stands now to not being married (assuming you have mirror wills) is that you can't pass assets to the other person on death without inheritance tax (as far as I know).

Given the fact of civil partnerships for same sex couples where, I believe, they have the same rights as married couples, it can only be a matter of time before heterosexual couples such as myself and my partner can declare a civil partnership and it will all be covered by that.

you really need a will when you have children I think so you might as well just do them now?

Jeanniejampots80 Tue 28-Jan-14 16:15:51

Just to point out that the case in Ireland was extra exceptional as the medical care required was to withdraw care and let the baby unfortunately die. So there was no time for the courts and the father and grandmother and hospital did not wish to prolong the baby's treatment/suffering by waiting for the long way around for the father to get his official rights which he would obv have been given baring any unsuitable circumstances etc.

I work in a job that regularly requires a legal document and most in married dads are well aware that they have no legal rights re the kids. We always have to ask if they are married. It's ridiculous but true.

flatmum Tue 28-Jan-14 16:19:26

Lots of unmarried dads have legal rights - they just need to be named on the birth certificate, post 2003.

So I hope you ask that, rather than if they are married.

Incidentally my DP has never been asked, in 10 years.

I'm really glad I read this, I'll have to talk to DP about sorting out wills before the baby comes.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 17:56:56

Shellywelly1973, that beggars belief, he won't even give his children his name , wow... You're better off without him even though four children won't be easy. I hope the first three are old enough to be some help!

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 17:57:57

I disagree NL, I think it risks normalising a word that has (rightly) fallen out of usage.

JanePurdy Tue 28-Jan-14 18:03:39

BasilandLime I've seen on MN that people have been advised by solicitors they need to re register children born before their marriage so they have the same inheritance rights as children born during the marriage, are you saying that is no longer the case?

Of course it doesn't 'risk normalising' it. hmm It's a single thread title using the phrase ironically and with humour to attract attention to the Op's query.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 21:45:32

I disagree very strongly. This thread is being seen by a lot of people and mumsnet have just left the term there. That sends a message that it is acceptable.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 21:48:29

Jane Purdy, if a child's father's name is on the birth cert and the child is born after 1st December 2003, then the parents' marital status doesn't affect the child.

In fact, (directed by EU regulations) Ireland took the significant step of removing the term "Ilegitimate" from the constitution. it's an invalid piece of terminology now. A child can inherit from an unmarried father, a child can inherit from an UN named father! (if dna test is court ordered)

No it sends a message that they don't over-react and have sensitivity to context and content.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 21:51:28

Nonsense NL, you normally talk sense but that argument is flawed. Not "over reacting" to something offensive and out dated is not commendable. I shall not provide comparisons because it will all kick off royally and that's not what I want.

Expectans Tue 28-Jan-14 21:54:08

When registering my baby a few weeks ago, the registrar said that if we married in the future we should reregister the birth as the children of married parents are treated differently under UK law. Is this true?

The only person apparently taking offense here is you.

JanePurdy Tue 28-Jan-14 22:07:27

That's what I'm referring to Expectans but BasilandLime seems to be saying otherwise. I would like Basil's point to be true as I think it is an outdated & offensive rule!

Jeanniejampots80 Tue 28-Jan-14 23:00:08

flatmum I am in Ireland and we ask them do they have the right legally to sign the consent forms in a very polite way.

I am almost positive here the birth cert means nothing. Both the parents have to sign a "statutory declaration" before the dad gets rights. If the mum refuses he has to go to court.

JanePurdy Wed 29-Jan-14 06:45:46

jenniejampots that sounds like here in the 80s, my mum took my dad to court so that he had parental responsibility, but he was already on the birth certificate.

flatmum Wed 29-Jan-14 10:25:26

In England, since December 2003, if the Father is named on the birth certificate, he gets automatic parental responsibility, same as the mother, irrespective of their marriage status.

Between birth and registration the unmarried father wouldn't have parental responsibility.

I don't know how any of this effects inheritance, if at all - and would be sorted definitively by a will anyway.

flatmum Wed 29-Jan-14 10:33:33

see here www.rbkc.gov.uk/pdf/FPI%20is%20it%20legal%20Feb_08.pdf

The law sets out who has parental responsibility. You have it automatically if you are:
l The biological mother of the child
l The biological father of the child, and were married to the mother at the
time of conception or birth, or you married the mother after the birth of the child or, for babies born since 2003, you registered the birth of the baby with the mother
l You are adoptive parents once an adoption order is made.

Even if the marriage breaks down, both father and mother will continue to have parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers did not have the same rights and responsibilities as a married father. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 now gives an unmarried father parental responsibility where he and the mother register the birth of their child together.

Even if the unmarried father’s name is not on the original birth certificate, you can now re-register the birth at a later date, adding the father’s details. This will give the father parental responsibility.
See www.gro.gov.uk.

But the Act is not retrospective, so unmarried fathers with children born before 1 December 2003 can still only get a parental responsibility agreement, either by:

l Making an agreement with the mother
l Or by applying to the court for a parental responsibility order.

Unmarried couples wishing to obtain a parental responsibility
agreement have to:
l Obtain a form from a solicitor or family court
l Go in person to the local magistrates court or County Court to get it signed
l Send it to the Principal Registry of the Family Division.
You should note also that an unmarried father who has not got parental
responsibility will have to apply for a court order to obtain the right, if the mother dies.

Jeanniejampots80 Wed 29-Jan-14 13:05:23

Janepurdy yes it is way behind here in legal rights for fathers. Not sure why as no one as far as I know has any issue with it being like it is in England but Dads here are still fighting for the situation to change and hopefully it will soon.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Jan-14 14:31:31

Hello Charingcrossbun

Sorry to butt in on your thread. We've had a couple of reports from people about the use of 'illegitimate' in your thread title. We don't have a problem with it at all (we think it's pretty clear you're using it in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way), but as one or two other posters are getting upset about it, we thought we'd ask you whether you'd like us to change it.

If you'd rather keep it as-is, that's fine of course.

Very best of luck with the birth


Charingcrossbun Thu 30-Jan-14 19:03:41

Ooo how exciting! Direct contact from Mum's net goddesses on high!!
Really wasn't trying to cause offence to anyone and would be happy to change it but I don't know how!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 30-Jan-14 19:13:51

As a midwife it wouldn't make any difference to me whether or not you're married. I don't believe anyone whether married or a partner can make decisions on someone else's behalf. So he couldn't make decisions on your behalf.

I have known mums be unconscious in ICU and the (unmarried) dad was left holding the baby. The case I'm thinking of he took the baby home while mum was still in ICU and it would never cross anyone's mind that he couldn't. I suppose technically as there isn't yet a birth certificate he had no parental responsibility but I think health care professional's use common sense. He was allowed to give consent for stuff like Vit K and which brand of formula.

Blondebrunette1 Thu 30-Jan-14 22:21:21

Very insightful thread I had no idea of the complications my then partner/now husband would've faced should I have died when giving birth to our children prior to our marriage. I am glad I didn't know as i'd have been worrying and having to take alternative action.

As for the sub-debate on the OPs title, it's a little unnecessary to make such a fuss over the use of a word that was not written with any unkind intentions. I think reporting it and making an issue of it is only drawing attention to the term you want to eradicate and it was used in a very light hearted way. It's also socially irrelevant today, as being born to unmarried parents means nothing to the vast majority of us so I think most people wouldn't even consider the term 'illegitimate' to be offensive, hence why the OP thought nothing of using it in the title. There's PC & then there's OTT.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Thu 30-Jan-14 22:48:55

Shellywelly, I hope your Ex spends a very lonely old age regretting his nasty little choices. What a horrible man. It's safe to say, sad though it is, that your DC are much better off without him in their lives.

Chocpudding Fri 31-Jan-14 08:50:23

As a midwife I am very aware of the lack of parental responsibility the father has immediately after the birth. I would be very cautious about seeking legal advice if a tragic situation occurred.

While personally I have happily co-habited for a decade, i recently got married to ensure my husbands rights post birth (if we are blessed with children). Good for you for looking into your options op. This is such an important issue that many people are not aware of. Congratulations!

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