Listing the parents’ names on the NOIM is often a huge headache. What if one of them changed their name? Do you put their name when they were born or when the party was born? What if there’s a spelling error in their name on your birth certificate? What if they go by an anglicised name? The Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Marriage Celebrants have, until now, been silent on this matter, and it’s often been a point of contention between celebrants. Some celebrants say you should put whatever is on the party’s birth certificate, because the important thing is to be able to link all the records. Some celebrants say you should put whatever the father’s legal name is now, regardless of what it was when the party was born. But all that has changed with the release of the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Authorised Celebrants 2018, so I was pleased to be able to answer the following question.
I seem to always encounter issues with the Bride’s mums’ maiden names when completing the NOIM! This issue (all names have been changed) is below, any advice would be hugely appreciated.
NOIM completed by Bride with:
1) Mothers maiden name: Sue Sarandon
2) Fathers name: Sylvesterino Stallone
Parents’ names as recorded on Bride’s birth certificate (produced as ID with gov-issued photo ID) are as follows:
1) Mothers maiden name: Susan Sarandon
2) Fathers name: Sylvester Stallone
During our meeting, I advised the Bride that it would be most correct to record her parents names as per her original birth certificate. She said she thought that her mother had changed her name legally to Sue. I was of the understanding that, if this was the case, then all official documents (including the Bride’s birth certificate) would have been been reissued with the Mother’s ‘new’ legal name. She also mentioned that she thought her Father’s name had been recorded incorrectly on her birth certificate as his ‘anglicised’ name (which was not his legal name). On the basis of the birth certificate, we signed the NOIM with their names as they are recorded on the Bride’s birth certificate.
I have now received an email from the Bride letting me know that she has spoken to her mother who told her that a solicitor advised she could not use ‘Susan’ on any legal documentation as she has legally changed her name to ‘Sue’. They have provided a scan of a certified copy of a statutory declaration from 1997 setting out details of the ‘renunciation’ of her former name. The mother also mentioned that the father (now deceased) never officially changed his name from Sylvesterino to Sylvester, and they have provided a copy of his birth certificate.
The couple wish to update the NOIM to include the preferred names of Sue and Sylvesterino. Long story, short question: do I put the onus back on them to provide true and accurate information and allow the NOIM to be updated to include the preferred names for the parents (rather than insist they are listed as per Bride’s birth certificate)??
When the draft version of the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Authorised Celebrants 2018 came out and we were given the opportunity to provide feedback before the final version was published, I included the following in my (rather lengthy!) submission:
There is nothing in these Guidelines about parents’ names on the marriage paperwork.
- Should they be the names listed on the party’s birth certificate?
- What if the party presents a passport, and gives a parent’s Anglicised name, when their original European (for example) name is on the party’s birth certificate?
- What if the party’s father has changed his name since the party was born?
- What if the party’s mother changed her maiden name by deed poll etc before she was married? Which “maiden” name is used then?
- What if a party “knows” who their father is and wants to include him on the marriage paperwork, but the birth certificate lists father as Unknown? Can we list him on the marriage paperwork or are we bound by what’s on the birth certificate?
- What if a party’s father is listed on their birth certificate but they don’t want to list him on the marriage paperwork? Can they leave him off?
Naturally the final version didn’t actually address ALL of my questions (some of which I will follow up for further clarification on), but on page 28 of the Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for Authorised Celebrants 2018, they included this nifty little paragraph:
The NOIM requires that the parties to the marriage list their parents. In most cases people will list their parents as per their birth certificates or adoption papers. Not all parents are listed on birth certificates; it is up to the parties to list their parents using the names as they know them by. There is no requirement to sight evidence of the parents’ names irrespective of whether a birth certificate is produced. A statutory declaration is not required for this item.
There is so much in that one little paragraph, so let’s unpack it a bit.
“In most cases people will list their parents as per their birth certificates or adoption papers.” Okay, makes sense. That one’s easy.
“Not all parents are listed on birth certificates; it is up to the parties to list their parents using the names as they know them by.” Wait, what? So now we can list a parent who is not listed on a birth certificate (that’s always been regarded in celebrant discussions as a no-no), and we can list them as whatever names the party knows them by? This is a major change from the accepted wisdom touted by many, many celebrants (myself included, to be perfectly honest).
“There is no requirement to sight evidence of the parents’ names irrespective of whether a birth certificate is produced.” So even if we do sight a birth certificate as proof of date and place of birth of the party, we DO NOT have to use the parents’ names as listed on it. Another major change.
So in answer to the question posed, the bride should definitely put Sue and Sylvester, as she doesn’t need to provide proof of their names, and what’s on her birth certificate is irrelevant!
Actually amazing. It’s well worth a very careful read of the new Guidelines to find little gems like this!