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Not married - will my DP be legally our babys father?

(23 Posts)
leftangle Tue 13-Jan-09 12:53:04

Appologies if this is not the right thread.

I'm currently pg, living with my partner, house in joint name but not married. If I die will he have rights over the child (when it's born) or do I need to make a will or something. Not that I'm planning to die but you never know I guess. Obvously(sp?) we will put dps name on birth certificate but not sure how much that counts or what happens if I die beforehand.


Divineintervention Tue 13-Jan-09 12:55:32

Next of kin for you and the baby will be your parents, in the absence of a DH.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 13-Jan-09 12:56:34

What do you mean by rights? If he goes on the birth certificate, he will share parental responsibility with you, and if you died, yes, he would be the person who would have residence (assuming he was living with you both at the time). If you were unavailable he would have the sole right to make decisions on eg medical treatment for it.

Even if you didn't put him on the birth certificate he can sue for PR later anyway.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 13-Jan-09 12:57:16

Next of kin for the baby will be its father, if he is on the BC and has PR. For her, he won't.

Divineintervention Tue 13-Jan-09 12:58:50

My dp couldn't sign permission for surgery for our dcs until he became DH.

Haribosmummy Tue 13-Jan-09 12:59:09

You can make a will, stating what you would like to happen, but this can be contested.

If he is registered on the Birth certificate (you both need to be present to do this), then he will have PR.

Is there any reason you don't want to be married? It sounds like it would remove your doubts?

PuppyMonkey Tue 13-Jan-09 13:01:02

If you both go together to register the birth, he automatically has parental responsibility for your child. The rules changed a couple of years back I think..

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 13-Jan-09 13:04:11

When were your kids born? They changed it about 4 years ago.

leftangle Tue 13-Jan-09 13:07:22

We will be getting married at some point but not before it's born.
I guess it's what will happen if I drop down dead after baby is born but before it's registered that concerns me slightly. (only started thinking about it after sad sad news story of child that was born to dead mother).

mumoverseas Tue 13-Jan-09 13:23:58

As long as he is named on the birth certificate then your DP will automatically have Parental Responsibility (PR). This is defined as a bundle of rights and duties towards the child to include the right to be involved in decision making with regards to the childs education, religious upbringing and medical treatment. As you are not married, DP will need to be present when you go to register the birth or else you will not be able to name him on the certificate.
Kat2907 is correct in that the law changed with regards to this 4/5 years ago and that prior to that the father did not automatically have PR if he was on the birth certificate. Now he does and in the event of something happening to you, he will be the babys next of kin.

Divineintervention, you were given bad/wrong advice with regards to your DP not being able to sign medical forms. If he was on your DC's birth certificate he would have been able to consent. Sadly a lot of doctors don't really understand the law therefore you just need to be firm in the event of something like that.

leftangle, please try not to worry about things that will probably never happen (although also being heavily pregnant I can understand where you are coming from. Hormones, don't you just love them!)
One other thing for you to think about is what surname you are going to give the baby? Are you going to give the baby your DP's surname in contemplation of your marriage or your surname? Just be warned that if you give DP's surname and later want to change it to yours (for whatever reason) you would need his consent to change it by way of a change of name deed. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy x

PuppyMonkey Tue 13-Jan-09 13:27:05

Mumoverseas... but the father actually has to go to register too doesn't he? That's what we have been told.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 13-Jan-09 13:34:24

Biological mothers always have parental responsibility for their child. All other parents/guardians can acquire parental responsibility in various ways.

* Where the parents are married at the time of the birth the father will automatically have parental responsibility.
* In the case of children born after 1 December 2003, where the fathers details are registered on the birth certificate the father will also have parental responsibility.
* If the parents are unmarried and the father is not named on the birth certificate a father can acquire parental responsibility by entering into an formal agreement with the mother, by subsequent marriage to the mother, by order of the Court or by obtaining a residence order (which governs where a child is to live) in relation to the child.

mumoverseas Tue 13-Jan-09 13:39:25

PuppyMonkey, thats why I said that he will need to be present when the mother registers the birth of the child otherwise she will not be able to name him in his absence.

Well done Attila, I can never remember if it was December 2003 or 2004 that the law changed.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 13-Jan-09 13:40:07

"Divineintervention, you were given bad/wrong advice with regards to your DP not being able to sign medical forms"

Actually although some NHS medical staff do let partners sign forms, many still do not.

If you're unmarried you are NOT related to that person in law regardless how long you have been together. It can cause all sorts of difficulties if one half of the unmarried couple dies as you are not next of kin; the partner of the deceased cannot apply for Letters of Adminstration, claim a widows allowance or administer the Estate. Even apply for a headstone.

heavenstobetsy Tue 13-Jan-09 13:45:41

slight tangent, but it's not just the rights over your child you should think about. Whilst your DP will have parental rights over your child, if you are not married he will have no rights over your estate if you die; just because he is named on the mortgage with you it does not necessarily mean the house will automatically pass to him. Nor would he be able to access any of your bank accounts or insurance policies without applying to the courts. You really should make a will.

Sorry it's a grim topic! I thought about this all a lot before and after my first child was born......

PuppyMonkey Tue 13-Jan-09 13:47:01

Ooh yes, so you did mumoverseas... Well done you! blush

mumoverseas Tue 13-Jan-09 13:48:59


Divineintervention Tue 13-Jan-09 13:51:31

Oh and you pay 40% capital gains on inheritance on a partner's estate... not a spouse's.

julietbat Tue 13-Jan-09 15:14:38

Atilla - being really picky (sorry!) but it's not biological mothers who are immediately recognised but birth mothers. I'm my dd's birth mother and my dp is her biological mother (we had her through ivf using my dp's egg). My dp is now having to go through the process of adopting her own genetic daughter!!

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread but it's a bit of a sore point with us at the moment!

Divineintervention Tue 13-Jan-09 15:19:48

Julietbat, you need a more complex situation!!

julietbat Tue 13-Jan-09 15:22:04

I know! We're not ones to do things by halvesgrin

mymumreadsthis Sun 18-Jan-09 00:01:07

Rules are a wee bit different in Scotland I think but broadly the same. We are also unmarried and I got annoyed a) because if I was married the law just assumes my husband is the father and he can register the birth anyway he wants without me even being there, and also b) because as I am not married DP has to have my "permission" to be on the certificate. ( I realise I am objecting to both ways )

I think in your case , if something happened before registration your DP would have to prove paternity to get parental rights, but it's a simple quick test.

If next of kin status were with your parents for a short while, is it liable to cause problems ? Do they object to DP for example ? You could always have a lawyer draw up a statement of your wishes on the matter, I have gay friends who did that before civil partnerships came in so that they could be legal next of kin and inheritors for each other.

FeminineWear Sun 18-Jan-09 01:09:20

mymumreadsthis - the law is the same in England, for a and b.

leftangle - I can see your concerns. I think you are talking about the our local Ice Skater who died when pg at 25 weeks.
I was also concerned about this happening. I live with DP, father of 20m DD. I approached my financial adviser so that bump could be added as a beneficiary of financial policies. I was advised to wait until it was born and was "legally a person!" I explained my fears and we went round it by drawing up a trust stating that policies should be shared between "my children" thus including bump. I was also advised to see my solicitor and amend my will to include "all children" rather than listing by name. I also had the opportunity to state in my will that if anything happened to me I would want my child to be brought up by it's father *insert name* then you are legally stating who the father is and there shouldn't be a problem if you die.
You have valid reasons for concern. I had images of dying during childbirth and it made me feel more secure if anything went wrong.
Still alive - so good luck!

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