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Who’s Your Daddy? Registering a birth…

May 27, 2013

In the course of my work, I have frequently seen birth certificates where “not recorded” is registered where the details of the child’s father should be. This should become a less frequent occurrence as a result of changes to the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Registration Act in 2009.

The amendments mean that by law there is now an obligation on both parents to jointly register their child’s birth. The only exceptions to this are:

  • Where the child has only one parent in law. This situation can arise if the child was adopted by one person or was conceived as a result of Assisted Reproduction and the women conceiving the child is doing so without a partner.
  •  Where the other parent is “unavailable”. This will arise where the other parent is deceased, unknown, missing, of unsound mind or unable to act because of a medical condition.
  •  Where requiring the other parent to sign the registration document would cause unwarranted distress to either parent. The Registrar has a discretion to decide whether this exception is met. The distress is likely to result from one parent having to approach the other to have him or her complete the registration form or from the consequences of registration. One example I have come across is that where there was a very real risk of domestic violence.

If you wish to rely on one of the exceptions so that only one parent’s details appear on the child’s birth certificate you will need to give sufficient explanation on the registration form as to which of the exceptions you are relying on.

The upshot of this amendment is that a mother is now less able to register a birth without her child’s father’s details recorded on the birth certificate. For a father this is significant as the registration of his details on his child’s birth certificate means that in law, they are deemed to be a guardian of the child which provides him with a whole raft of different rights and responsibilities in respect to his child.

Let the specialist team of family lawyers at Family Law Results assist you. If you want  help to resolve a family law issue, go to www.familylawresults.co.nz.

From → Children, Paternity

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