Understanding the Law
September 24, 2004
Insertion of father’s name

An unmarried father might not have consented to have his name on the birth record of his child at the time of registration. If he decides to have his name recorded after a year of the birth of the child he must sign a statutory declaration.
There is no need to ask for the services of a lawyer since the forms may be obtained at the General Register Office in Kingstown. Two declarations are available: one for fathers who are resident in St. Vincent and the other for those overseas. {{more}}
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, many children born out of wedlock use their father’s name even though it is not recorded on the birth register. If the father does not make a statutory declaration then the issue of paternity could be brought before the court. In fact anyone with a proper interest may have the relationship of father and child determined by the High Court under the Status of Children Act, whether the father or child or both are alive or dead.
The services of a lawyer may be required to prepare the necessary application and to file the supporting documents. Consequent to a successful order in court, the registrar will insert the father’s name on the birth record with the relevant note.

Insertion of father’s name
when mother is dead
The law requires the consent of both mother and father to the inclusion of the father’s name on the birth record. If the mother is dead or cannot be found then the father either by himself or with any other person who can attest to the birth must sign the application. Where the mother is dead, the death certificate of the mother must be attached to the application.

Re-registration of birth
Re-registration of birth is available to persons who were born before their parents were married. Both parents must sign an affidavit attesting to the relevant information. After the application is approved, the information is entered into a special register. Any application for a birth certificate thereafter should indicate the year of re-registration. If one has forgotten the year of re-registration the original birth entry could be used to trace the re-registration record. After registration, a child can legitimately use his/her father’s name.
It can be concluded from the foregoing that the forenames of a birth certificate cannot be changed after a year. After a year the registrar general could only correct errors, change a mother’s surname to a father’s surname for the child whose parents are not married, and change a mother’s surname to a father’s surname for those married since the birth of the child.

Deed Poll
Any other change of names must be done by way of a deed poll. It is important to understand that a deed poll is not a certificate. A deed poll is a legal document in the form of a contract. It differs from the regular contract in that one instead of two persons signs it. It could be regarded as a “deed of change of name”. It must be signed, dated and witnessed. It indicates that one has abandoned one’s former name for a new one. One can abandon both forenames and surname and substitute them for new names. However, a change of name must not be done for fraudulent purposes. The deed poll is drafted by a solicitor and registered at the General Register Office where it is given an identification number (for example No.1 of 2004).