How can I get a copy of my child’s birth certificate?
Birth certificates are public documents; and anybody can get a copy provided you have sufficient information about the child and parents. Birth certificates are available online by registering with the General Registry Office (GRO). At time of writing the cost is £11 if you have the GRO index reference number or £14 if you have to search for the certificate.
Get your child’s birth certificate here:
What does it mean if my name is not on the birth certificate?
It means you don’t have legal Parental Responsibility. It does not mean you do not need to pay child maintenance if you are the father of the child. (Check our guidance on Rights and Responsibilities of Parents). Mothers automatically have their names on the birth certificate.
Can I change the birth certificate to put the fathers name on it?
Yes, under certain conditions:
If the fathers name was omitted at registration the birth certificate can be changed if the mother agrees.
Following the marriage of the parents, if they were not married at the time of the birth.
Following the civil partnership of the legal parents if they were not civil partners at the time of the birth.
If the mother doesn’t agree you will need to get a Declaration of Parentage from the Court using a C63 form. A Declaration of Parentage is when the court decides who the father of a baby is. You don’t need to do anything to change the birth record if there’s been a Declaration of Parentage made by a court. The court will tell the General Register Office and the birth will be re-registered. You will need to order a new birth certificate if you want one. You will then get Parental Responsibility if the mother agrees. You cannot change the child’s name without permission of the mother.
If the wrong man is registered as the father, you can change the birth certificate using the C63 form, but a DNA test will be required (see our guidance on DNA testing and how to establish who the father is).
Can I change my child’s name?
Yes, under certain circumstances:
If your child was baptised into the Christian Church and registered with a baptismal name you can change the first name within 12months of the registration by asking the vicar or minister to complete a Certificate of Name Given in Baptism form. They may charge for this.
You can change the child’s name with agreement from the mother.
You can change spelling errors. You will need to demonstrate a spelling error with a passport or other official document.
You can apply to court for a change of name using a C100 form to obtain a Specific Issue Order. This will ensure the passport office and Benefits Agency change their details too and reduce confusion later in life. All people with Parental Responsibility should agree.
If you don’t know where the other parent is, and you are the only adult with PR, you can still apply but you will need to demonstrate what you have done to find the other parent. If you are an absent dad this is a sure-fire way of hiding your child from you, especially if the mother changes her name by Deed Poll or remarries.