DH's ex-p refusing to put his name on their child's birth certificate(26 Posts)
My DH has a DD aged 13. When she was at primary school we would have her to stay during the week for 2 nights. This contact was unofficially in place (not arranged through court). DH unable to take her at weekends due to working in the hospitality industry. If he did have a weekend off, she would stay with us. This arrangement changed when she started secondary school. Her mother stopped allowing us to take her during the week for a number of reasons. The first of which was because we sent her to school 'with messy hair'. This was untrue and made us really mad. The second reason was that it would interfere with her afterschool activities. We offered solutions to the ex-P's fears that the child's activities would not be affected. We offered to pick her up after activities etc. The whole thing ended up in court. Ex-P, DH and DSD all interviewed by court officer. DSD seems to have been coached by Ex-P. She was 12yrs at that stage. Stated that she didn't want to come during the week but didn't understand that if she didn't come during week she would rarely see DH. DH not even guaranteed a weekend a month off. More like every 5/6 weeks unless for a special reason. I was pregnant at this stage and feel the ex-p's behaviour and attitude changed towards us around this point. (She was the one who ended their relationship and has two other children with new partner. DH and Ex-P together for 8 years, DSD was 6 when they split up).
Anyway, judge decided that DSD wishes would be prioritised. We lost the weekday contact with her and now barely see her. When we were all in court, my DH got an order for parental responsibility (he hadn't realised he wasn't actually on the birth certificate until a number of years after they broke up). She had lied and said he was on it but he discovered this to be untrue. My DH asked his ex-p at court if she would consent to having his name on the BC and she flat out refused and wouldn't tell us why. I assumed that she believed this would adversely affect her benefits, which apparently used to be the case but doesn't make a difference now. The other part of me started to have an awful feeling that perhaps DH isn't the father of DSD. I mean I have no real reason to suspect this, just a sinking feeling. I don't think she looks anything like him but I don't think that's a great reason to think they're not related. I did mention my fear to him but he completely disagrees that that is why she is doing this. Ex-p cheated on DH and that is why relationship between them ended. I also think if she has cheated once that he knows of then maybe she did it before. When they were together there were times when she wouldn't come home after night out until the next morning and would refuse to give an explanation.
For other background, our baby died in the neo-natal unit soon after all this happened and this is why I am only revisiting this now. I'm just wondering if anyone has been in this situation or has any advice on what way we should proceed. Considering going down the legal route again but know that this is costly. The ex-p was legally aided (even though she lives with her partner who has his own company). This is my first post so please be kind!
Given that he already has a court order giving him legal parental responsibility, what would his dd gain by having him on her birth certificate?
When DH found out he wasn't on the BC, he was quite hurt as it says father 'unknown'. He felt (and I agree) that she would be quite hurt/surprised if she ever saw this, so he thought he could save her this hurt by having the name added. I've had to use my BC for many things e.g. starting new school, university, getting married so imagine she will see it at some point. I just don't understand why her mum wouldn't want to put his name on it anyway.
I don't know if it would be the biggest concern now if he has parental responsibility - but I understand that would be awful. Imagine the other way around, no mother's name!
But I did have a friend who was engaged to a man, she was pregnant, and then the whole thing blew up and they split up. She refused to put him on the birth certificate and basically found a new 'father', married him, got him to adopt the girl. The girls father was a bit rubbish, but up to that point had paid maintenance and wanted to be involved, but just backed off. I think it ruined the parent child relationship forever.
I'm so sorry for your loss, first of all.
And I totally sympathise with your dh as I am applying to adopt my dss. He lives with us full time and is 100% NC with his birth mum. Our residency order was uncontested in the end and dh's exw says that her life has never been better I have PR for him but he is 12 and definitely wants a new certificate with my name on it since I have been so present in his life for so long (since he was 2) He feels through and through that I'm his mum and vice-versa. So ok it's not the same situation but I do get it.
What legal steps could you take? I don't know much about this side of things...
Where are you lenny? I only ask because if dd was born in England or Wales, the birth certificate would not say 'unknown'. It would just have nothing written in the spaces for the father's information. My dd's birth certificate is like this.
Considering the cost, effort and stress involved in going to court, I don't think the benefit of saving dd from maybe having hurt feelings at some time in the future is worth it.
I think it would be better to focus on building up a good relationship with dd. As she gets older, you and dh will be able to arrange visits with her directly and won't need to involve her mother.
DSD seems to have been coached by Ex-P. She was 12yrs at that stage.
You can't 'coach' 12 year olds. That's just the age when they develop confidence in their own opinions.
Sorry for your loss.
I agree with the above, your DD knows her father, he can say now that it wasn't possible for him to be on the certificate as he didn't go to the registrar (NB this is true for unmarried parents, the man has to be there) but he got court confirmed PR as needed.
Regarding the contact, if DSD expressed a wish to increase it, that would be taken into account. I'm not sure a court would rule much differently given she was 13 when the last order happened.
You can't 'coach' 12 year olds
Nonsense. Even adults can be coached.
OP- if your DP has an order granting him PR then presumably he can get the birth certificate amended himself? This link suggests it's done automatically by the court - www.gov.uk/adding-fathers-name-birth-certificate
Of course you can coach 12 year olds! What tripe to say you can't.
Op I imagine the space in the bc is just blank? In the long run it doesn't make any difference really, were they married? I'm sure if dsd knows he's her father she will be fine about it.
Also so sorry about your loss.
Okay maybe coaching a 12 yr old isn't impossible but it's not common or likely.
I have an almost 12 year old and we are close.. If I wanted to I most definitely could coach her.
Especially if faced with questioning from a stranger, she'd 100% say what I advised her to say.
CAFCASS officers are trained to question in a way that gets past "parroting" of parents' views.
Ok but there are ways to convince a child of what you believe is right so it wouldn't necessarily just be careful questioning to get round it. Her mother may well have convinced her it was for the best. If the child agrees or believes that too then that form of 'coaching' is hard to get past.
Sorry to derail thread op on that one point but I'm not keen on generalisations and I've seen a similar situation played out where the child very much wanted to please her mother and just did and said what was suggested to her.
There are a few issues there. In regards to the BC, I do find it odd too, firstly that she didn't put his name on it, and if I were your OH, I really would want to know why. Then again, why didn't he go with her when she was registered. It's all a bit weird, but indeed, I understand his motive for wanting his name there.
The issue of contact is another one. I would jump and assume that DSD has been coached. It is normal for 12yo in secondary school to have continuity during their week and not to want to go from one place to another. How far away do you live as travel could be an issue, even if you agree to pick her up and drop her off. If it means getting up 10 minutes earlier in the morning, that could be enough for them to rather not come over.
As for week-ends, can't she comes Friday or Saturday evening? It's the same thing, but the other way around. Maybe do this every other week, and then see her the week he is off. During the week, he could offer to take her to some of her activities, but drop her back at her mum?
"Then again, why didn't he go with her when she was registered. "
If he didn't go, she couldn't have put him on unless they were married (unclear if they were)
My DH asked his ex-p at court if she would consent to having his name on the BC and she flat out refused and wouldn't tell us why. I assumed that she believed this would adversely affect her benefits, which apparently used to be the case but doesn't make a difference now. The other part of me started to have an awful feeling that perhaps DH isn't the father of DSD. I mean I have no real reason to suspect this, just a sinking feeling.
TBH this all just reads like muck-raking without logic.
Birth Certs have no bearing on benefits.
Questioning paternity for no reason is just low.
Blaming other people for the father's failure to jointly register the birth is plain silly.
(The mother probably felt a bit "too late sunshine" about the BC, given the 12/13 year delay)
So sorry for your loss OP
As others have said an unmarried mother cannot "put' the fathers name on a BC, he has to attend the registration.
As far as contact goes personally in your DP's situation I would have changed professions long ago if it meant more contact.
Indeed I had to leave a profession I loved when I became a single parent with sole care as it involved shift and weekend work which just wasn't doable. Now my dc is older and in full time education I am back working in my old profession in a slightly different role with more family friendly hours.
Of course 12 year old a can and are coached.
I was coached as a 14 year old, and my 12 and 10 year old brothers were as well.
It wasn't sitting down and saying 'right, this is what you need to say'
It was months and months of 'wouldn't it be awful if you had to live with your dad. Think of all the things you'd miss out on. Can you list some of the things you did last week that you wouldn't have been able to do. Like the party and brownies'
Then the same every time we were picked up from an activity. 'You really enjoyed that tonight, didn't you. Wouldn't it be a shame if you had to stop all this because you were at your dads. And I've done research and there isn't anything like that near him so you'd be giving it up forever.' All.the.time. By the end, we had no idea what our opinion was, just what we had been conditioned to say.
My friend is currently pulling the same shit on her DCs to win the battle with her DH as to whether they should move to the countryside or not.
I'm 100% supportive of my DCs spending time with their dad, but starting secondary school was a time when my DD started to find having two different homes in the week to be too complicated. Having the right books with her, uniform, sports kit, etc was all too hard, so she stopped wanting to go to her dad's on a school night. The timing of when your DSD stopped wanting to go does suggest it may well have come from her not her mum.
I'm unsure why your DP thought he was on the birth certificate because he could only have been on it if he'd gone with his ex to register the birth. You're not allowed to name a father who's not present with you unless he's your husband (and I'm assuming they weren't married otherwise he wouldn't have had to apply for PR as he'd already have it). You might want to point this out to him so he doesn't feel that his ex has deliberately left him off in order to cut him out of his DD's life, when in fact she'd have had no choice about it if he wasn't with her to register the birth.
I'm also unclear why you thought not being on the birth certificate meant he might not be her father - there's no paternity test involved . If he thinks he's her dad and his ex appears to think he is, why wouldn't he be?
I'd also agree with the posters above that trying to build his relationship with his DD is the main priority. Can he text or message her a bit more now she's a teen? Or have her to stay a bit more on the holidays? A name on a birth certificate will do very little on its own to get the relationship he wants
DH just turned 21 when DSD was born so was definitely a bit naive. They were never married. He has said that his ex-p told him that she filled out the registration forms to register the baby's birth when she was in the hospital. I don't know if this used to be the way it was done or not. So as far as he knew, she had put his name down for the certificate. We live in N. Ireland so pretty sure the BC said 'unknown' but it's been a while since i looked at it so maybe i got that bit wrong.
The only reason I raised the coaching thing was because DSD said to us after the judge made the ruling and she realised she wouldn't see us as much, "I wished I hadn't said those things, i really miss coming over etc."
The activities were after school based - sport twice a week, but now she doesn't even play it, just lost interest in it.
We do live further away from the school than her mum does. She can walk to school there in about 20mins but would probably take us about 30mins in rush hour to drive there, so yeah about a 10 minute difference. 30mins in rush hour doesn't seem much to me but i think thats because i lived in the countryside and had to get the bus to school about an hour before school started.
As regards changing professions, this is something he has thought about, he is looking at other options but obviously it's easier said than done.
I think aginghippy is right. [Considering the cost, effort and stress involved in going to court, I don't think the benefit of saving dd from maybe having hurt feelings at some time in the future is worth it.
I think it would be better to focus on building up a good relationship with dd. As she gets older, you and dh will be able to arrange visits with her directly and won't need to involve her mother]. Will just concentrate on trying to see her as much as we can in the meantime. Thanks everyone
"He has said that his ex-p told him that she filled out the registration forms to register the baby's birth when she was in the hospital. I don't know if this used to be the way it was done or not. "
Yes, I think the registrar used to come round, but an unmarried mother can't name the father if he isn't present as the assumption is she might name any old dude. If married, the child is viewed in law as a child of the marriage even if said mother was pregnant by someone else before getting hitched, so mother has the authority to name the father.
So the mother wasn't lying when she said she did the forms and sounds like your DH assumed.
The rest of it sucks though. If she's happy to come over more, can she tell her mum that?
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