Posted on | July 30, 2012 | 4 Comments
[See postscript at end] Interested to read today about a proposal for fathers to be compelled to put their names on childrens’ birth certificates on pain of prosecution and fine in order to encourage them to step up to the parental responsibility plate : Fathers to be named on birth certificates.
Haven’t had time to go and source the first hand information about this nor to review the Welfare Reform Act 2009 which is referred to in the article, but I’m not quite sure how this would work in practice, not least because some Fathers will not know of their paternity and how will they be distinguished from the shirkers and goodfornuffings?
But more importantly the decision about registration of birth is presently in the hands of mothers, and it is entirely within the gift of a mother to register a father on the certificate regardless of his wishes. In fact the more common complaint in this area is not that Fathers are shirking responsibility but that they are denied it by being left off the certificate by the baby’s mother – whilst simultaneously being clobbered for child support regardless of their lack of PR. Where is the proposal to compel mothers to include the name of a father on the certificate where known?
There are obvious anomalies in the law on PR and registration of births which cluster along gender lines. But I can’t immediately see how this will equalise or simplify the situation as between mums and dads.
No doubt this warrants further and proper consideration, which I have not given it today – but at first blush its aw of a muddle…Isn’t it?
[POSTSCRIPT : Thanks to John Bolch for setting me off on another, slightly more rigorous foray into this topic (see comments below). It appears in fact that this is a matter first raised in December 2011, then shelved, then halfheartedly wheeled out for the Annual Father's Day Useless Dad Bashing Fiesta, see here in the Telegraph. It's late and, frankly, I still can't be bothered to trawl through the Welfare Reform Act 2009, but from what I can gather a) the Telegraph incorrectly report a potential sentence of 7 years for perjury as 7 days and b) the original article I linked to wrongly reports that the WRA 09 would give a power to prosecute Fathers for non-registration of births, when (unless I'm missing something) the WRA 09 in fact only provides that a breach of the sole mother's duty to register dad's details to fall within s4 of the Perjury Act 1911 i.e. it is Mums who would be in hot water. Frankly, it's all poppycock and not something I think the Coalition is likely to push through. And I'm a little annoyed at myself for seeing this posted on a forum on Linkedin and regurgitating it without checking it out more thoroughly - both for currency and accuracy. Zut alors! Je suis un doughnut.]