How do I amend an incorrect birth certificate and what is a Declaration of Parentage?
A Declaration of Parentage will state under English Law, whether or not an individual is the legal parent of another person – section 55A Family Law Act 1986. Where a Declaration of Parentage is made by the court, the court office will notify the Registrar General and the birth certificate of the person named in the application will be amended.
This is very important as it means that a father can add his name to a child’s birth certificate or an incorrect father’s name can be removed from the child’s birth certificate and the correct name added. It may be that a mother may wish to remove an incorrect name from a birth certificate. This can have significant consequences in relation to personal identity, citizenship and nationality, financial rights, inheritance etc.
A Declaration of Parentage application can be made by an adult. For example, an adult adoptee was allowed to add the name of their birth father on their birth certificate – Re L, Re M (Declaration of Parentage)  EWFC 38
A Declaration of Parentage however does not provide Parental Responsibility (PR) for the father. Parental Responsibility is defined in S3(1) Children Act 1989, as being: “All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities, and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”. The biological mother of the child will automatically have PR. If the father is married to the mother, or unmarried but named on the child’s birth certificate, he will automatically have PR.
It is important to remember that if the court grants a Declaration of Parentage, it will not automatically grant the father PR. For a father who is not granted automatic PR, this is still possible to obtain. The easiest way for this to happen, is to have a PR agreement with the mother. If this is not possible, the father may be required to obtain a court order for PR. This can be done by submitting a court application.
Following an application for Declaration of Parentage, the court may request a DNA test or if both parties agree, this may not be necessary.
There are many complex issues which may arise. If you have any queries on Parental Responsibility or Declaration of Parentage, please do not hesitate to contact the Ellis Jones Family Team on 01202 525333 or email Family@ellisjones.co.uk.
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