Unmarried fathers to be registered
Unmarried fathers will be required to register their names on their baby's birth certificate under plans outlined by ministers.
The plans, which are due to come into effect in January 2011, aim to make parents take responsibility for their children from birth.
Currently around 45,000 births each year, around 7 per cent, are registered with just one parent.
Children's minister Dawn Primarolo has launched a consultation on the new regulations which come under the Welfare Reform Bill.
She said: "We want to promote parental responsibility from the very beginning by requiring both parents to register in this way. A child deserves to benefit from the love and support of their parents throughout their lives and both parents need to take on this role.
"The traditional family unit has been changing for many years. We know children thrive in a diverse range of family backgrounds but inevitably they do better when both parents are involved in their upbringing.
"We want to move away from a separated partner becoming the 'invisible parent' in a child's life and through registering at this key milestone in their child's life both parents can make a long-term commitment to the child."
There will be exemptions in cases where it is not possible, practical or advisable for there to be a direct link with the father on a birth certificate.
And a man will only be named if both parents agree he is the father of the child.
In cases where parents are separated or no longer in contact, they will be able to provide information separately.