Tag Archives: birth certificate

In which I make oblique reference to a change in my personal circumstances

When you fill out a birth certificate in Wisconsin, there’s a “Mother’s Information” section and a “Husband’s Information” section.  If you’re unmarried, you’re not allowed to put the father’s name on the birth certificate.  You have to leave it blank, and petition the State Vital Records Office after the fact to get the father included.  And if you are married, you have to put the husband on the birth certificate, whether or not he’s the father of the child.   In fact, if you’re married to Mr. X, conceive a child by Mr. Y, and subsequently get divorced from Mr. X, the ex-Mrs.X still has to put Mr. X on the birth certificate.  He can only be removed by court order.

What can the rationale for this be?  I guess it must arise from acrimonious cases where the paternity of baby X is really unknown, but Mr. X, angry at having been cheated on and dumped, insists, rightly or not, that the baby is not his, and refuses to pay child support.

It is not at all clear how you’re supposed to fill out the form if you’ve been married to more than one man over the course of the pregnancy.

(Mrs. Q would like me to clarify that the abovementioned change in my personal circumstances is the one which entails filling out a birth certificate request with the State of Wisconsin, and does not involve any alterations in marital status, unknown biological parentage, or outstanding claims of child support.)

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