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NOIM-Adoption: My mother remarried, and my stepfather adopted me. My birth certificate has my adopted name and a note at the bottom lists my birth name as my original name, alongside of my birth father’s name; so who do I put on the NOIM as my father?

Which father do you want to list?

If we look at the Guidelines on the Marriage Act, ‘section 4.5.2 Parents’ names’ and at the NOIM, we find that the NOIM requires that the parties to the marriage list their parents but the NOIM does not differentiate between birth and adoptive parents as it simply asks for the father’s name and the mother’s maiden name

In most cases people will list their parents as per their birth certificates or as per adoption papers but not all parents are listed on birth certificates and in your specific example there are two fathers’, being the birth and the adoptive.

The Guidelines tell us that:

“it is up to the parties to list their parents using the names as they know them by”

The Guidelines also tell us that there is no requirement for the Celebrant to sight evidence of the parents’ names irrespective of whether a birth certificate is produced and further, that a statutory declaration is not required for this item.

This indicates that whilst the birth certificate is required as a proof of date & place of birth, it is not required for the purposes of completion of the NOIM, as proof of the identification of parents.

In your circumstances then, the mother is unchanged but in regard to the father, I would contend that there is a choice as to who you would list.

You have two fathers identified:

  1. Birth Parent (as a previous parent) and
  2. Adoptive Parent (current)

and so I would simply abide by the advice that:

“it is up to the parties to list the parents using the names as they know them by”,

or put simply, list whomever you regard as the parent.

That is most likely to be the adoptive father who is of course the current parent and listed as such on the Birth Certificate.

In regard to the birth father, at the time of your adoption, it must be presumed that the birth father was either not available because of death or had willingly relinquished his role.

Given the complexities of life, you might nonetheless have a strong connection to the birth father and/or his family name.

In either scenario, it would appear that the Guidelines will allow the option of listing the either the current and legal father, or the birth father, whichever is preferred.

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