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DEAR CHRISTINE: Should I put father’s name on certificate?


DEAR CHRISTINE: Should I put father’s name on certificate?

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DEAR CHRISTINE: I’LL BE the first to admit that I made a really big mistake a few years ago, but thanks to God, for opening my eyes to the truth.

It was two years ago, that I left the man with whom I had a four-year relationship (Boyfriend A), to move in with another man whom I met and who promised me the sun, moon, stars – a total package – inclusive of marriage.

This was one of the biggest regrets of my life. Boyfriend (B) turned out to be a cheater, liar, and one who used me for financial gain. I became stressed, depressed and completely taken back by all that happened.

During our 10 months together, he lost his job and I became his financial crutch. I paid for everything. He made plans to repay me once he was re-employed, but that never happened.

Because he said he wanted to marry me, I stopped using birth control pills during our time together and thereafter, got pregnant. The baby is now due in April.

Boyfriend A and I have been able to patch things up. He has forgiven me and we are planning to get married before the baby is born. In actuality, we are getting married three weeks before the baby’s due date.

My husband-to-be has asked that I put the child in his name since we’ll be married by the time the baby is born and he’ll be the one helping to raise this child.

However, the child’s father (B) has asked that his name be placed on the birth certificate. Maybe the positive result to this mess for which I have accepted blame, is that B is making plans to move abroad in September.

Christine, the question bothering me somewhat is whose name do I place on the birth certificate? B says that since he is the biological father, his name should be placed.

He has promised to go to court to have this matter settled if I do anything other than this. Since we were not married, does he have the right to do this?

Should I put his name or that of my husband-to-be? I am not sure.

– Unsure

Dear Unsure:

Here’s my take, but you can and should seek the legal advice of an attorney.

Does B has the right to take you to court if you do not give the child his surname? The answer is absolutely “no.”

Having said that, the child’s biological father must be identified on the birth certificate as his or her father. Deciding how the child is named is one thing. Identifying its biological father is another. It’s important that you have an “accurate” birth registration certificate. At some point, this will be a significant factor in the life of your child.

In fact, what concerns me most in this whole scenario, is your unborn child. When this child becomes an adolescent, teenager or adult and wants access to his or her birth records, the records should be honest and accurate.

Furthermore, your child has a right to know the truth and nothing but the truth, as to who is his or her “real father” – even about the circumstances surrounding their birth.

Since the law currently allows a child to have either its mother’s or father’s surname – whether or not the two are married, you are not bound in any way to give your child the father’s surname. What you can do on registering the child’s name, is use your name – which by then, will be that of your husband’s (if you have the legal documents to show).

You can also use your maiden name and husband’s name. For example, let’s say your surname is “Doe” and your husband’s name is “Dim.” The child’s name can become – “Doe-Dim.”

Again, remember, you have the sole right to naming your child. There is nothing in the law books which states you must name the child after his or her dad. In fact, there are certain legal ramifications you will face, including having to seek permission [from the child’s father] to take the child out of the island, if she bears the surname of her dad.

It would be best therefore, for you to use your married name.

However, please seek further advice from an attorney.


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