A heavily pregnant mum-to-be is campaigning for a change in the law so her late partner can be named as father on their baby’s birth certificate.
Charlotte Watterson came home from work in June this year to find her boyfriend Aidy Badon dead.
He was just 27 and thought to have been in the peak of health but tragically died from an undetected heart condition.
Social care worker Charlotte was 11 weeks pregnant at the time and was left to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and make plans to bring up her child alone and without a daddy.
It was only after Aidy’s funeral that she discovered he cannot be named as the baby’s dad due to a law stating that if you are not married the father must be present and sign at the birth registration.
Charlotte, who is due to give birth on January 11, told the Manx Independent from her home in Ballasalla: ‘It’s not the 1950s anymore – not everyone gets married. The law needs to change.
‘I met Aidy on a dating site in the September. It all happened very quickly. We fell in love, We got a house. I got pregnant. We were very happy.
‘Aidy had never been ill - he was probably as healthy as he’d been in his life. I saw him that morning before I left for work and he was fine. I came home that afternoon and found him dead.’
Charlotte, who has changed her surname by deed poll to Badon, found out three weeks later through a grieving site that Aidy’s name could not go on their baby’s birth certificate. ‘I knew nothing of this. My partner was cremated by then, so sibling DNA is my only hope.’
She has now joined a campaign to amend the law to allow the father’s name to be added when deceased, by way of a sworn affidavit, where no one contests the identity of the father and on production of a death certificate.
The case has been highlighted in England by the case of Shenayah Broome, aged six weeks, whose father David Broome died in a car accident five days before he was due to sign the birth registration as her father.
Currently children’s families who have a deceased father have to apply to court for a Declaration of Parentage and the judge will look at the evidence and decide whether or not the father is the biological father of the child. In many cases DNA is required and with legal costs the process can cost in excess of £4,000.
An action group has been launched to put pressure on the UK government, to make the process less invasive and easier to complete. Many registrars and family lawyers are unaware of the process needed in such situations, as Charlotte discovered herself. She wants to apply similar pressure to the Manx government.
David’s sister Jane Gregory has launched an e-petition to present to the House of Commons and she has vowed to help Charlotte in her bid for her child to have the right to her father’s name.
Charlotte was contacted by Jane via Facebook. She said: ‘I had really felt I was the only one in this situation. Then I found it not just me and there were all these others in the UK.’
She said Aidy’s family had been very supportive and his sister and mother were prepared to give a DNA sample.
You can find the David’s Law petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/72386