It's holiday time and for the first time in a long time I had the house to myself.
So this morning I decided to get my breakfast and sit down and watch some telly. Jeremy Kyle was on. Super!
By the time I switched over to another channel, my blood was simmering.
There was this woman who had, since conception, continuously made it almost impossible for the father of her child to have any contact with the now born baby because he had upset her or some such thing.
He had tried everything, well according to him, I think he could have done much more, but she wouldn't have any of it. Today, her main grief with him was that he hadn't done anything for the baby including provide any financial support so he wasn't able to see his baby or spend time with him/her.
Anyone who knows me knows that I truly believe that holding a child hostage due to non-payment of child support is somehow understandable but not fair at all on the child and really shouldn't happen. But that's a whole other post.
In this case what really got to me was the fact that she flatly refused to add his name be on the child's birth certificate! Which equates to him being denied any parental responsibility. She just said no and that was it!
And she could do this because they were not married. If they had been, this would not be an issue.
My question is this - Can the law force her to do so and if not why not?
I know that he can apply for parental responsibility but he is after all the father and would like to be able to make decisions about his child's upbringing as any other father would. Why does the onus have to be on him to legalise his fatherhood status just because they were never married?
If she has any real and legitimate concerns about his ability to be a good enough father to their child, should it not be up to her to apply to the courts to deny him parental responsibility?
Is it not the child's right to know who father is if only through a name on a birth certificate?
How will you explain to your child later, why there's no name on his/her birth certificate? It might look like a distant problem right now, but it's coming.
Having parental responsibility means that you both can make decisions with regards to the upbringing of the child, his/her education and general wellbeing but surely that is a good thing right? For the child I mean, not you.
Of course there are times when it's just best that daddy doesn't get any parental responsibility whatsoever e.g. where there is violence and cruelty, where there's issue of sexual abuse towards anyone, where there is addiction to drugs and/or alcohol or issues around your child's safety and real risk of abduction.
By the time I decided I couldn't watch anymore Kyle, I found myself wanting to start a petition that would automatically add the unmarried father (if known) on the birth certificate.
Here are my reasons:
- it's the child's right to know who daddy is. If he is not present, then at least there's a name. If daddy denies being the father, Jeremy Kyle can sort that out with a paternity test. If she denies knowing who the father is, then she will have to explain to the child in years to come how that came to be - not an easy conversation I would imagine.
- having a name on there will make sure more dads, not all I'm sure, by law, provide for their children and hence will improve their children's lives
If you as the dad don't have Parental Responsibility then you can apply for it.
Putting children first from birth onwards...
Before I finish, I know of one man who has 6 children from 4 women and doesn't appear on any of their birth certificates because he doesn't want to have to pay child maintenance...