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Family Law Myths No.8: His name is not on the birth certificate so he has no legal rights…

So this one still comes up although it has been quite some time since the concept of parental responsibility was introduced.

First, the easy one: if a child’s parents are married at the time of birth, whether or not the father is named on the birth certificate, he has parental responsibility.

Now the more complicated one: If a child’s parents are unmarried and the father is not named on the birth certificate it means that he does not automatically have parental responsibility which means that he is not able to assume all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law.

However, unmarried fathers can acquire parental responsibility subsequently, by entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother, by marrying the mother or by applying to Court for a parental responsibility order.

So, not naming the father on the birth certificate in effect only places an obstacle in his way as opposed to preventing him from having any legal rights in respect of the child.  In reality the father can apply to Court at any time to formally request that he be granted parental responsibility, for residence, contact, a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.  The Court would then consider whether making such orders would be in the best interests of the child.

For more information on the issues raised in this blog please do not hesitate to contact one of the team at Rayden Solicitors.

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