Parents of a new-born child are legally required to register the child’s birth in order to obtain a birth certificate and give him/her an official identity.
A child’s birth must be registered within 42 days of his or her date of birth and the birth should be registered at the local register office for the area where the child was born.
Further information can be found here: www.gov.uk/register-birth
Parents who are married or in a civil partnership
Either parent can register the birth if they were married to each other or in a civil partnership together at the time of the child’s birth. The birth certificate will include both parent’s details.
Further information can be found here: www.gov.uk/register-birth
Where a child’s mother and father were married to each other or in a civil partnership together at the time of the birth, they shall each have parental responsibility for the child in accordance with section 2, sub-section 1 of the Children Act 1989.
A woman who is married or in a civil partnership with the biological mother at the time of conception will be have parental responsibility for the child as the second female parent unless conception occurred through sexual intercourse or she did not consent to the conception.
Application to re-register a child’s birth following marriage or the entering into of a civil partnership of natural birth parents
If the parents have married or enter into a civil partnership after the child was born, they are legally required to re-register the birth. This is the case even if the father is already on the child’s birth certificate. This particular requirement stems from The Legitimacy Act, section 9.
The relevant form is LA1.
In the event that the father did not already have parental responsibility, the father will acquire parental responsibility once the birth has been re-registered in accordance with Section 4, sub-section 1 (a) of the Children Act 1989.
Parents who are not married or in a civil partnership
The details of both parents can be included on the birth certificate if one of the following happens:
- they sign the birth register together
- one parent completes a statutory declaration of parentage form and the other takes the signed form to register the birth.
Who must consent to the father’s name being added to the birth certificate?
Both the mother and the father must provide consent.
There is an exception to this rule in the re-registration process, which is explained below, in the event that the father has entered into a parental responsibility agreement or obtained a parental responsibility order.
Application to re-register a child’s birth and add the natural father’s details
It is possible for the natural father’s details to be added to the child’s birth certificate if the parents have never been married/in a civil partnership and the father’s name was not recorded at the time of original registration. The relevant application form is GRO185.
Ordinarily, this application for re-registration does require the consent of both the mother and the father. However, in the event that the father has entered into a parental responsibility agreement or obtained a parental responsibility order, there is the facility for only one parent to re-register the birth. This would be appropriate in such cases where the mother does not provide consent for re-registration.
The parent making the application for re-registration in this case would be required to fill out specific sections of the GRO185 form and attach a copy of the Parental Responsibility Agreement/Parental Responsibility Order.
A new entry will be made to include the father’s details and the original entry would have a note added to show the birth has been re-registered.
Unmarried fathers who registered or re-registered their name on their child’s birth certificate after 1st December 2003 will have Parental Responsibility for their child. The exception to this is where re-registration occurs following a Declaration of Parentage. For further information, please see below.
Declaration of parentage
If a declaration of parentage has been issued, the onus is on the court to inform the General Registry Office within three weeks of the order being granted. The General Registry Office have discretion to re-register the birth in order to reflect the findings of the court and this can be carried out without an informant attending the registry office. This is contained in Section 14A, sub-section (1a) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953.
A new birth entry will be made which would supersede the original entry.
A father will not automatically obtain parental responsibility through the re-registration process following a declaration of parentage. Therefore, in order to obtain parental responsibility, the father will need to enter into a parental responsibility agreement/apply for a parental responsibility order.
How can the wrong father’s details be removed from a birth registration?
A paternity correction can only be made when it has been proven either by a DNA test or a court order (declaration of parentage) that the man named on the certificate is not the natural father of the child. Therefore, a recognised DNA report or a Declaration of Parentage which either excludes the man named on the certificate from paternity or confirms the name of the true biological father is required.
The application form and guidance for removing the wrong father’s details from a birth registration can be found here. There is a £90 fee in order to apply for a correction.
If the mother applies to correct the birth entry with a DNA test, the entry will be corrected by means of a marginal note, with the named man’s details remaining in the entry. Any certificates issued from the entry will show this marginal note of correction and the original information.
The correction will not put the true father’s details into the birth entry – for this to take place the birth will need to be re-registered.
Declaration of Parentage
See section above ‘What happens if there has been a declaration of parentage?’
It is unclear whether a person who obtained parental responsibility by being incorrectly named on the birth registration would lose their parental responsibility if the birth registration is corrected. Some judgments seem to indicate that this would be the case but there does not appear to be a definitive legal position on this or clarity in the legislation. As a result, we would advise seeking advice from a solicitor on whether the person originally named as the father would lose or retain their parental responsibility if the birth registration is corrected. If there are doubts a solicitor may recommend making an application to discharge parental responsibility. Such an application can be made using the C1 form.
If the matter is already in court for a declaration of parentage and it has been determined that the wrong father is named on the child’s birth certificate, it may be worth asking the court there and then to make an order for discharge of his parental responsibility.
Once an Adoption Order has been granted a copy of the Adoption Order relating to each child will be sent to you from the Court where the Adoption hearing took place. The Court also sends a copy of the Adoption Order to the General Register Office who use the information contained in the Adoption Order to make an entry in the Adopted Children Register. A new birth certificate is then produced in the child’s adoptive name. This document is known as an adoption certificate and replaces the original birth certificate for all legal purposes.
An entry in the Adopted Children Register will only contain the adoptive details of a person and has no information that relates back to the corresponding birth entry.