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Parental responsibility

(47 Posts)
Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:05:06

I'm really a bit stressed and need some advice.

When my dd was born I was married and my husband was named as dd's father on her birth certificate. This was obviously a mistake since he is not her natural father, but the decision was made many years ago when I was just an impressionable niave 18 year old! (well that's my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it ).

I have since divorced said husband and have come across a problem regarding parental responsibility. Since I was married to the man who is named on dd's birth certificate a certain government department are insisting that he has parental responsibility even though he is not her biological father! Surely this can't be correct? How can someone who is not a biological parent have parental responsibility? Me and my dd have not had contact with ex h for 8 years and he has not applied nor been granted parental responsibility.

I know it is a long shot but is there anyone here who has experience of this situation?

Is there a way of getting free legal advice from anywhere? I work full time so don't think I would be eligible for legal aid and really want to avoid having to see a solicitor if I can help it.

Tinker Tue 01-Mar-05 19:08:06

Don't know the answer but did he agree to have his name on teh birth certifciate?

gothicmama Tue 01-Mar-05 19:08:22

I think cos you were married and he is named on birth cert he gets it automatically - soem sol do teh first hour free - also CAB may be able to help

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:20:26

Also, I know it is possible to re-register a birth to add a father's name, but does anyone know if it is possible to re-register a birth and remove the father's name?

morningpaper Tue 01-Mar-05 19:20:43

I think that if you are married, your husband has parental responsibility whether he is the father or not.

Freckle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:21:24

If you were married at the time of her birth (or even if you married after she was born), she will be classed as a child of the family and treated as such by the courts. Presumably she was so treated when you divorced? And presumably he treated her as his own child whilst you were married?

In which case, he would have automatic parental responsibility. He wouldn't need to apply for pr. However, if you haven't seen him for 8 years, why is this an issue with you?

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:21:57

Yes, Tinker, he did agree to have his name on the birth certificate.

I will phone cab but it will be awkward around work hours.

Tinker Tue 01-Mar-05 19:22:40

Surely that can't be true mp? Not questioning you, thinking out loud. Aniles - think you'd need to speak to a solicitor tbh about correct the birth register, as it were. Does the natural father figure anywhere?

Freckle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:26:54

Lots of non-natural parents (if you'll pardon the expression!) have pr for children. Adoptive parents, step-parents, etc.

Presumably at the time of the child's birth, he was treated as her biological father, otherwise his name wouldn't have been put on the birth certificate. Did he know that he wasn't the father at the time??

At the end of the day, you can't have your cake and eat it. If you wanted him treated as her bio father at the time of her birth, it seems a bit rich that you want the situation to be altered now that circumstances have changed.

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:28:58

I changed dd's surname by change of name deed through a solicitor a few years ago. I've applied for a passport for dd but passport office are saying that I need a letter from my ex h to give consent for the change of name, even though it was done legally though a solicitor. I have no way of tracing him and have not had contact with dd's biological father since pregnancy.

There must be a way round this otherwise my dd will never be able to go on holiday abroard!

Tinker Tue 01-Mar-05 19:30:47

Can see what you mean Freckle. Was assuming that the natural fatehr would have to give conesent. Assume not?

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:31:00

Freckle, It's nothing to do with having my cake and eating it. My situation has changed within the last decade or so and I simply want to take my daughter abroard.

Tinker Tue 01-Mar-05 19:31:36

Change her name back??? For now?

Freckle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:34:08

Is there a residency order in force? If so, you cannot change your child's name without the written agreement of anyone else with parental responsiblity (which your ex does have, as you were married - the biology is irrelevant) or an order of the court.

So you will either have to track down your ex and get his consent or apply to the court for an order. Alternatively, apply for a passport in her original name.

Even if there is no residency order in force, you need the agreement of your ex to change dd's name.

morningpaper Tue 01-Mar-05 19:37:22

Tinker: I believe it IS true - it's one of those leftover laws from Victorian times I think!! I've assumed the man 'owned' the woman and therefore the children by default, I think.

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:39:02

So, does that mean that the change of name deed is not legal?

morningpaper Tue 01-Mar-05 19:39:39

Every child born to a married woman is presumed to be her husband’s child unless there is proof to the contrary. The husband has the right to enter his name on the child’s birth certificate, whether or not he is actually the father."

Weird eh?

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:40:02

No, there not a residency order in force

Tinker Tue 01-Mar-05 19:40:49

That is weird isn't it mp.

Freckle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:42:02

I don't think it's anything to do with Victorian laws. The law at the moment deals with the issue of parental responsibility. Aniles' dd's natural father does not have parental responsibility; her ex-h does. At the end of the day, we don't know the circumstances surrounding this matter - such as whether the natural father knew of his child, whether ex-h knew he wasn't her biological father, etc.

The courts look at the situation before them. Ex-h is named on the birth certificate, which implies that he is the child's father. They were married, ergo he has parental responsibility.

Now if the natural father knew or became aware that he was the father and wanted to apply for pr, then the courts may well grant it.

Freckle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:42:55

I think the change of name deed is not legally valid, as you needed your ex-h's consent to change her name and you didn't have that.

Trifle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:47:54

Surely there must be many cases where a man believes he is the biological father only to find out later he isnt (statistics say it is 1 in 9 men). Just because this blokes name is on a birth certificate cannot surely give him automatic PR as it would mean that if a couple split up he could then be taken to court for maintenance etc.

It sounds like this government official is being a jobs-worth. How can he insist that a bloke who has no responsibility for the welfare or financial arrangements of a child suddenly be granted powers to decide upon her name.

You cant possibly change her name back, it makes no sense at all, least of all for the child who wouldnt know if she's coming or going.

Burocracy gone mad.

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:48:41

Yes, ex h does, and always has known that he was not dd's natural father.

Regarding applying for the passport, I have a letter from ex h's solicitor stating that he is not dd's natural father, would that make any difference?

Freckle, if the natural father was to be granted legal responsibility would that mean that both men had legal responsibility at the same time?

And does anyone about the change of name deed and weather it is legal or not?

Aniles Tue 01-Mar-05 19:52:22

oops, I'm typing too slow!

Regarding the change of name deed, the solititor who dealt with it was fully aware of the whole situation and told me that it was a legal document and that ex h's consent was not needed because he is not dd's natural father. Does this mean that the solititor has done something wrong and that I should complain?

Freckle Tue 01-Mar-05 19:53:03

Lots of men pay maintenance for children who are not their biological offspring. If they have been treated as a child of the family, then, if the parents divorce, the "father" would be expected to pay maintenance for the child/ren unless there was already an order in force relating to the natural father.

Presumably when ex-h agreed to have his name on the birth certificate, he was agreeing to bring dd up as his own child. Was anything done wrt maintenance when you divorced, Aniles?

As I have said, the change of name need is not valid as the law requires the consent of both parties with parental responsibility.

If the natural father applied for pr, the courts would take into account all circumstances, including the fact that ex-h already has pr.

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