Mother reveals TWO YEAR ordeal to prove her boyfriend was the father of their child after he died
A mother has revealed the heartbreaking ordeal she faced to have her dead partner registered as the father of their child after he tragically died two days after her birth.
Beccy Hunter said all Jamie Hunter, 38, had ‘ever wanted’ was to be a father and he was thrilled to be able to hold his daughter Harper-May when she was born in May 2020 before he died from kidney cancer.
But the grief-stricken mother-of-six then had to endure a two-year battle to get Jamie’s name registered on their daughter’s birth certificate.
The lengthy legal process involved taking DNA swabs from Jamie’s body and from the then three-week old Harper-May and Beccy had to prove she was a fit mother.
The mother said it had been ‘hell’ to get Harper-May’s birth certificate changed but that she couldn’t even look at the original version without Jamie’s name.
Beccy said that being a father was all Jamie ‘ever wanted’ and that she was determined to let him meet his daughter
Beccy finally got a birth certificate with Jamie’s name on it in July 2022, more than two years after Harper-May’s birth
Beccy had to endure a two-year battle to get Jamie’s name registered on their daughter’s birth certificate as the couple weren’t married
Beccy had given birth early to make sure that her partner, Jamie Hunter, could meet their daughter before he died.
But Jamie’s death, which came before they could register the birth, and the fact the pair weren’t married, meant that his name wasn’t on the birth certificate.
‘If we’d have been married, they’d have just put his name on the certificate. It’s utterly wrong. We did think about getting married but everything happened so fast with his illness,’ Beccy explained.
‘There just wasn’t time to sort a wedding out, I was eight months pregnant and our focus was on getting him there to see Harper born.
‘He gave me a ring two days before he passed away and I changed my name to Hunter so Harper would have the same name growing up.’
The mother-of-six was determined that her daughter’s birth certificate would say who her father was and started a drawn-out legal process, which cost £3,500, to make the change.
‘For Jamie, being a dad was all he ever wanted. Why should Harper grow up looking at her birth certificate with her dad being a blank space?’
Beccy, who had changed her surname from Flint just before Jamie died, had to go to solicitors and arrange for DNA samples to be collected from her deceased partner and her newborn baby.
The mother-of-six was determined that her daughter’s birth certificate would say who her father was and started a drawn-out legal process, which cost £3,500, to make the change
Jamie Hunter was able to see his daughter Harper-May two days before he died of kidney cancer, after Beccy Hunter gave birth early
Beccy Hunter was thrilled that Jamie Hunter, 38, had the chance to briefly cuddle little Harper-May when she was born in May 2020, as being a parent was ‘all he ever wanted’
Harper-May, now two years old, visiting her father Jamie’s grave. She met her father two days before he died of cancer, having been born early
This involved Jamie’s body being moved from a funeral directors to Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, meaning she was unable to go and see him for three weeks.
Beccy then had to meet social services and appear in court to make her case for why she wanted Jamie on the birth certificate.
Beccy, who is from Sutton Coldfield, in Birmingham, said: ‘It’s been hell, it makes me so mad that we had to go through this. If we had been married, they would have just taken it as gospel that he was the dad.
‘It’s just because the law is so outdated. Today, lots of people aren’t married when they have kids.’
Having already spoken to the register office, Beccy was aware that naming Jamie as the father was not going to be a straightforward process.
Beccy said: ‘I had to arrange for a company from London to get a DNA sample from Jamie. It meant I wasn’t allowed to go and see him at the funeral home for weeks in case I contaminated the body.’
The mother explained that DNA would have to have been taken from Jamie’s brother had they not taken it from him. He had to be transferred to Heartlands Hospital for it to be carried out because is it so rarely done.
Beccy said: ‘It wasn’t nice for Harper either. She was only three weeks old and they came in, all masked up, to take her sample. But that was only part of the saga.’
Beccy was then interviewed by social services, which she found difficult: ‘They wanted to know whether Jamie wanted to be a dad and I had to prove that I was a fit mother. I don’t know what difference that made but this was all about consent.
‘When an unmarried couple register a birth, they go to the register office together and that way the dad gives his consent to be named on the birth certificate. The difficulty here was that Jamie was not here to prove his consent.’
Waiting for her case to be heard in court was delayed due to backlogs. When she was finally able to attend, Beccy said she broke down in tears in front of the judges.
Knowing that her partner Jamie would miss out on many big events in daughter Harper’s life, mother Beccy Hunter thought it was important he was listed on the birth certificate
When Beccy was finally able to attend court about getting Jamie’s name on the birth certificate, she said she broke down in tears in front of the judges
Beccy said: ‘I had to go to court and swear on the Bible, standing in front of three judges to persuade them to put Jamie’s name on the birth certificate. It was so nerve-wrecking, I was in bits. I’ve never been in court before, I felt like a criminal.
‘Why did I have to stand in front of a judge when I’d done nothing wrong? I spent most of the time crying and the judges, these big men who are used to dealing with lots of criminal cases, ended up crying too.
‘After I’d explained what it meant to me and to Harper, they looked at each other and said: “We are all in agreement and we are going to approve this”.’
But that wasn’t the end of the process as Beccy still had to apply to get another birth certificate done.
She finally had the new version, complete with Jamie’s name on it, in July 2022, more than two years after Harper-May’s birth on May 11 2020.
Beccy said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I finally had the completed certificate. I hadn’t been able to look at the original where it said father and there was just a blank space. It was wrong.
‘The whole process is wrong and we need to raise awareness to try to change it. I just feel that if I can help anyone in the same unfortunate position as me then it’s worth it.’