Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Immigration Corner | Wrong father’s name on birth certificate

Published:Tuesday | March 23, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I ’m in a pickle and I need your urgent help. Please don’t judge me, just hear me out. My situation is this: I was living with my boyfriend a few years ago and I went to a party with my friends, where I met a really handsome guy and we had a little fun. I became pregnant, but I wasn’t sure who the father was when the baby born. My boyfriend signed the papers, and so my daughter has his name. I realise that my baby couldn’t be for my boyfriend, so I asked my friends to help me find the guy from the party. We found him on Facebook and he said he often wondered about me and that he is living in Canada. I told him about my daughter and sent him pictures. He said my daughter is the splitting image of his daughter in Canada. They could pass as twins. He now wants to sponsor my daughter, but the problem is she doesn’t have his name. Can this be fixed? Do I have to go to court to prove who is the father? I have since broken up with my boyfriend and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with us. I need your help to sort this out so that my daughter can have good opportunity in Canada. I look forward to hearing from you.

– M.M.

Dear M.M.,

The name on your child’s birth certificate can be corrected by contacting the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) and making an application for Correction of Birth Records. It is not a court process and the application forms are available online at www.rgd.gov.jm. Once this is completed, there are other factors that you should consider.

APPLICATION

The relevant application form is online. You are required to provide an explanation for the error and both you and your child’s father will need to sign the statutory declaration in the presence of a notary public or justice of the peace. Then the appropriate supporting documents and fees will need to be paid to the RGD to prepare an amended birth certificate.

Since another man’s name was placed on the certificate, this is not just an Addition of Name application, but one which needs compelling reason to effect the change. In some cases, the registrar could request an interview with the parents. I, therefore, strongly recommend that your child’s father arrange to get a DNA test done to prove that he is indeed the father. Once the results are obtained, then you should include the results with the application.

Once you have the amendment and the DNA results, your daughter’s father would be able to either apply for your daughter to be a citizen of Canada or apply for your daughter to become a permanent resident of Canada under the Family Class Sponsorship category. The route that he takes would depend on the father’s status in Canada. If he was born in Canada, then your daughter may already be deemed a Canadian citizen and you only need to do the necessary paperwork for her to get a Canadian passport.

If the father was not born in Canada, then your daughter could become a permanent resident and later become a citizen. Your child will be deemed to be a dependent and eligible for sponsorship, if she is unmarried and under 22 years old.

The critical thing is that the father must qualify as a sponsor and undertake to be fully responsible for the basic needs of your child. He will need to submit completed forms, supporting documents and pay the requisite fees. Your child will also need to pass all the medical and security checks.

CAUTION

You did not indicate the age of your child. However, I am going to assume that she is a minor. You indicated that there is another child that “could pass as twins”. Are the children the same age or close in age? Have you investigated your child’s father thoroughly to see if he would be a fit and proper parent to your child?

You seem anxious to send your child off to have opportunities in Canada. Are you sure your child would be better off there? Is the man married or in a relationship with another woman? Will that person care for your daughter? Will she allow your child to return to you whenever you want? What about custody and access? Maybe you should be going to court on this issue to ensure that you have a court order in place so that you do not lose all rights and claims to your child.

I recommend that your daughter’s father visit Jamaica to do the DNA test and to assist you with this process, as this would avoid delays. His visit would also give you an opportunity to observe the interaction between your daughter and her father.

I am not discouraging you. I have already indicated that what you desire may be possible legally. However, my concern is for the safety of your daughter. Therefore, I urge you to think carefully about her best interests and ensure that this man can love, care, and protect your child, and that you will still have rights and access to your child. Be careful that you do not end up losing your child. I recommend that you contact me via www.deidrepowell.com to book a telephone or Zoom meeting so that we can discuss this further.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Email: info@deidrepowell.com. Subject line: Immigration. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, or call 613.695.8777.