No daddy, no 'dead lef' - Children without father's name on birth certificate could struggle to benefit from estate
Elizabeth Brown* was not concerned when she received a copy of her birth certificate and noticed that the area for her father's particulars was blank. After all, she knew her father, and he was very involved in her life.
But the 35-year-old Brown realised the problems the she, and hundreds of other Jamaicans who do not have their father's names on their birth certificates, could face when she decided to study in the United Kingdom.
"There's a rule that says if you are going to use money in your parents' or legal guardians' account, you must have documentary evidence to show that you are their child, whether it's adoption papers or birth certificate.
"I was not able to use the money directly from his account because his name was not on my birth certificate. I was not able to prove that he is my father even though we have the same last name, so I had to find other ways to finance the study," Brown told The Sunday Gleaner.
She has also found out that she could find herself missing out on inheriting property in the future if her father's name is not added to her birth certificate soon.
"My grandfather died and left property in Portland, but he did not leave a will for his wife (my grandmother), so she naturally continued living there. My father then took it over by paying the property taxes and is now in the process of getting his name on the title for the property.
"He has already made a will and has divided the property among his children. If he dies before the process of adding his name to my birth certificate is complete, I will have to prove that he's my father if I want to benefit. I don't think word of mouth alone would work," said Brown.
"When I was born, not having the name of the father on your birth certificate was a common thing. It would be helpful to have his name on it, though, just in case. It won't hinder your existence, but it would be nice to have it," added Brown.
* Name changed on request
Addition of Father's Particulars
• To complete the Addition of Father's Particulars process, persons must acquire the form by downloading it from the Registrar General's Departments (RGD) website: www.rgd.gov.jm or by collecting it from any RGD office islandwide.
• Both parents are required to complete the form in the presence of a justice of the peace, attorney-at-law, school principal, clerk of the courts, or notary public, if either parent is overseas.
• The completed forms should be returned to any RGD office, along with valid identification for both parents and the relevant fees.
• For further details, contact the Marketing and Planning Department at the RGD offices at 1876-619-1260 or 1-876-749-0550.