William Shakespeare may have said “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
But, a person without a birth certificate is not sweet at all. A person in New Jersey relies heavily having a birth certificate to do things like getting a driver’s license, getting married, proving citizenship, getting a passport, enrolling in school, and a host of other activities.
Our office recently had the privilege to represent a client who did not have a birth certificate. He had a difficult back story, having learned the mother who raised him was not in fact his mother years after her death. His brothers knew he was not biologically related, and had been sworn to secrecy as children about his circumstances. It wasn’t until he needed a birth certificate for something in his 30s, that he learned about this. He did his due diligence trying to find a copy of his birth certificate, calling area hospitals and the schools that he knew he had attended as a child. He had report cards, but no birth certificate.
He had tried through other attorneys without success to get a birth certificate so he could at the very least get a driver’s license. We were able to successfully petition the Court, specifically the Chancery Division, to order the Department of Vital Statistics to issue a birth certificate to our client. That Order included all pertinent information to be included – birthday, place of birth, and parent information if available. In this case, the information about the parents was not available.
Getting a birth certificate will allow our client to get a driver’s license, passport, and most importantly to him – a marriage license. It will also allow him to have the same opportunities and privileges as every other resident of New Jersey.