This summer a post on “Mumsnet” went viral. A mother of two children, who had got married to their father in-between the children’s births, was told that she had to re-register her eldest’s birth due to the marriage occurring afterwards. This is known as the marriage of a child’s natural parents. Even now there are forums online filled with mums going back and forth on whether this is necessary or not.
Don’t fear, we have the answer.
If you have a child, and subsequently marry your child’s father, you are legally required to re-register your child’s birth. This is regardless of whether the father was on the original birth certificate. If the father was on the original birth certificate, re-registration will not affect any of his parental rights, as these are granted to him by the original registration. Re-registration is simply for administrative purposes.
It is required under a law that is over four decades old which was created in a time when whether you were legitimate (born in wed-lock) or not was important, not only to your social standing but also in the eyes of the law. Decades ago if you were born illegitimate you were not able to inherit property nor would you be entitled to probate. This means not only could you not get anything from your parent’s Will, you wouldn’t be able to prove that their Will was valid either, even if you’d lived with them your entire life. If you were born outside of wed-lock, but your parents subsequently got married afterwards, you were still considered illegitimate for the purposes of this legislation.
The law has since progressed, and in 1987 the Family Law Reform Act was enacted. This removed the differences between legitimate and illegitimate children for legal purposes. As long as you could prove that you were your parent’s child either through a declaration or a blood test, you were able to inherit and gain probate.
Although the law has progressed, it seems that no-one has got round to repealing the previous law which has since become partially redundant. As there is nothing that specifically repeals it, the law is still technically valid and enforceable. Therefore, legally you should re-register your child’s birth if you marry their father afterwards. There is even a fine for those who fail to do so, with a whopping maximum fine of £2.
To re-register your child’s birth you simply have to fill out Form LA1, which you can print online. There is no fee charged for re-registration however, the usual fee of £9.25 will be charged for any additional certificates issued.