Wednesday, 3 September 2008

From Straits Times on Single mothers, 1st Sep

More kids born to unnamed dads

Some single mums say keeping father off birth cert is better for baby
By K.C.Vijayan, Law Correspondent

MORE babies are being born here without their fathers named on their birth certificates.

The numbers, on a march north for the last three years, are taken as an indication of the number of illegitimate births.

Last year, there were 561 such births, up from 495 in 2006 and and 481 cases in 2005.

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) records show that of these 1,537 births, only 91 or about six per cent had the father's name inserted subsequently.

An ICA spokesman said that occasionally, the father's details are unavailable at the time of the registration of the birth, such as when the identity of the father is unknown.

But if the father's particulars become subsequently available, they can be inserted later, as long as there is acceptable evidence that he is the biological father.

The ICA spokesman added that a child's birth details are normally recorded at the time of birth - whether or not the parents are married - on the strength of evidence, documents and information.

Lawyers add, however, that if a newborn's parents are not married, the father's name is inserted only with his consent.

Single mothers The Straits Times spoke to said they have kept the father's names out of the birth certificates to avoid complications in the long term over custody and access.

A 31-year-old single mum who asked to be referred to as 'Jenny Tan' to protect her child said: 'For unmarried mums, not having the dad's name is probably better because there is the issue of custody where sometimes, after many years of neglect, the father may for some reason or other come back and fight for custody, which is particularly worrying if you have a young daughter.'

Another single mother who wanted to identified only as Ms Wang said she decided not to insert the name of the father of her child after learning from the experience of others.

Among other things, the 35-year-old human relations senior executive does not want to have to look for her child's father when it is time to register her daughter for school. Having two names on the certificate will mean that she would have to produce both his and her identity cards to register the child.

Excluding the father's name however does not absolve him from taking responsibility for the child.

In one case, a 37-year-old senior manager who fathered a child had to be hauled to court and ordered to pay child support.

But for some single mothers, maintenance is not an issue because they want a clean break from the man.

Both Ms Tan and Ms Wang said they became single mothers because their partners left them when they became pregnant.

'My baby had nothing to do with a swinging singles lifestyle, but because I am against abortion. My parents nearly killed me then, but now they are fond of my kid,' Ms Tan said.

Another single mother asked that more be done for such mothers - like giving them the Baby Bonus benefits.

She said her application for a new HDB flat was turned down despite appeals from her Member of Parliament on her behalf. The reason: She and her child were not recognised as a family nucleus.

'I was left with two choices - get a flat on the resale market or go through an adoption process and adopt my own child, to set up that family nucleus.'

But she pointed out that having to adopt her own child could endanger support payments as the father could refuse to pay maintenance for an adopted child.

Her ex is now paying her $300 a month in child support, she said.

An illegitimate child is also not entitled to inherit his father's property, unlike a child from his legitimate wife.

Family lawyer Jan Koh from Harry Elias Partnership said the men who shirk their duties as fathers range from businessmen to coffeeshop owners.

One unmarried doctor in his 30s dumped a student in her early 20s, refusing to believe that a one-off fling could make her pregnant; in another case, a businessman in his late 40s ditched his pregnant mistress after initially planning to divorce his wife and marry her. The woman in her 30s had to take him to court to get child-support payments.

1 comment:

wounded soul said...

Anyone out there who wants to form a support group for illegitimate children? From my own experience, I felt that I had to "pay" for my parents' choices - more than once in life. contact me at

Thank you for visiting