Did you hear our Family Lawyer Alexandra Dancey-Tucker speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk this morning about re-registering a child’s birth after marriage? If not, here is a round up …
The law as it stands
The law (The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 and The Legitimacy Act 1976) requires natural parents who marry after their child is born to re-register their birth to have the natural father's details added to the birth record despite the fact that the natural father is already named on the birth certificate.
For this to apply the child must have been born in England or Wales.
Reasons why re-registration is needed
It comes from outdated law which prevented illegitimate children inheriting from their parents upon death.
The purpose of re-registration is to prove that the child is one of the marriage and that they are a legitimate child. This will not affect the father’s parental rights provided he is named on the original birth certificate.
What if you haven’t re-registered your child’s birth
There is now law which has superseded this (Family Law Reform Act 1969) which gives both illegitimate and legitimate children the same rights to inherit. However the outdated law still exists and although vary rare parents could face a fine of up to £2 according to the legislation, if they do not carry out re-registration. In practice it seems that many parents are unaware of this law and in my experience a fine is very uncommon.
How to resolve this
So you can apply on form LA1 which can be found on the Gov.uk website. The application form is straightforward, consisting of two pages. It asks for details of the child, mother and father, details of the marriage, register office and then each parent provides a declaration.
You will need to send the form along with the original birth certificate and marriage certificate to the register where your child was born, so usually the one which issued the original birth certificate.
There is no fee for re-registration but you will be charged for any new birth certificates issued, which is around £10.
However if you are not sure about your legal position you ought to seek legal advice from a family law specialist.