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Register births, deaths and marriages


A birth must be registered within 42 days of the birth and can be done at the local register office or sometimes at the hospital. If the parents are married then either parent can register the birth.

Opposite sex couples - if they are married or civil partner parents then either parent can register the birth. If they are unmarried then both parents can be included on the birth certificate if one of the following happens:

  • They sign together
  • One parents completes a statutory declaration parentage form and the other takes this signed form to register the birth.
  • One parent goes to register the birth with a document from the court, such as a court order, giving the father parental responsibility.
  • The mother can register the birth alone and not include the father's details on the birth certificate. (The details can be added at a later date.)

Same sex female couples - either parent can register the birth on their own if all of the following are true:

  • the mother has a child by donor insemination or fertility treatment;
  • she was married or in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment.

If they are unmarried they must do one of the following:

  • Register the birth jointly
  • Complete a 'Statutory declaration of acknowledgement of parentage' form and one parent takes the signed form when she registers the birth.
  • One parent goes to register the birth with a document from the court, such as a court order, giving the second female parent parental responsibility.

Same sex male couples - male couples must get a parental order from the court before they can be registered as parents.

Where it is not possible for the parents to register the birth, for example for medical reasons, certain other people can do it. They include:

  • Someone who was present at the birth.
  • Someone who is responsible for the child.
  • A member of the administrative staff at the hospital where the child was born.

Deaths must be registered within 5 days of the death, this includes weekends and bank holidays. A copy of the death certificate must be taken along to the register office and, on contacting them, the register office will tell you if they want to see any other documentation, for example, the person's birth certificate, passport etc. If the coroner has any involvement in the death, the death cannot be registered until the coroner has completed their investigation.

A marriage in England and Wales can be performed in a place that is approved for civil ceremonies, a register office, Anglican church or any other place of religious worship that is registered for the solemnisation of marriage.

The marriage certificate will be given after the ceremony.

Same sex couples can convert a civil partnership into a marriage in England and Wales.

For any further details please contact your local register office or the General Register Office. To find your local register officer or contact the General Register Officer, see the links in related information.


Please see the link in Related Information. Although the information is provided by the Metropolitan Police it is general information that is relevant to anyone who has suffered a bereavement.


Bigamy can be a complicated issue but the basic premise is that you can only be married to one person at a time. It is irrelevant if one or more of the marriages took place in another country, as long as it is a legally recognised marriage. However, there must be some connection to the United Kingdom before the UK police can take any action. If you suspect a person of committing bigamy then contact your local police via their non-emergency number: 101.

Contact your local police force

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