The act is silent on deleting the name of a parent [Photo: Courtesy]

My son’s father deserted us before he was born but I went ahead and filled out his name on the birth certificate. Despite having a well-paying job, he does not cater for the upkeep of the baby which, I have done since the baby was born three years ago. I am now contemplating deleting his name as the father on the birth certificate. Will I have legal backing?Lucy, Nairobi.

 Dear Lucy, 

The Registration of Births and Deaths Act which deals with birth certificates is silent on deleting the name of a parent in the registration.

However, some situations can and do arise where the parents would like to change the names initially entered in the birth certificate of a child. However, it may be argued that law is not cast in stone and while the registrar of births and deaths lacks the power in law to effect such changes, it is advisable to seek such orders from the High Court.

Legally, the advantages of a child having names of both parents on the birth certificate outweigh the disadvantages. Having the father’s name may guarantee easier inheritance of father’s estate by preventing paternity disputes. Also, contrary to popular notion, you cannot be denied a child’s passport for not having a father’s name on the birth certificate.

High Court Judge Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi ruled that all birth records may include the father’s name. Further, the court declared Section 12 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act unconstitutional. The section had stated that no person shall be entered in the register of births as the father of a child “except either at the joint request of the father and mother” or upon proof to the Registrar that the father and mother of the child were married to each other in accordance with the law.