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Winston Mortain
Winston Mortain, Lawyer.
Category: Legal
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Experience:  27 years practice of law
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Which parent determines the race of the child in a mixed marriage

Customer Question

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Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 9 years ago.

What is the context of the question?

By that, I mean what is the form you are attempting to answer?

In general, the answer is "neither parent". The race of the child would be "other" or "mixed", or a similar term.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Emeritus23's Post: I'm white, English, my husband is Chinese. We are expecting our 1st child in August. When we fill out the birth certificate must we check one or the other or do we just check off the "other" box? When he goes to school what are the guidelines. I guess, botXXXXX XXXXXne is there a true LEGAL way to handle this. Is he LEGALLY considered white or Chinese. I was taught in nursing school that the child takes whatever race the mother is since there are sometimes circumstances when the mother may not know exactly who the father is. Is this just a suggestion or is this the law?
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 9 years ago.

Just check "other". Same with when he goes to school.

What you were taught in nursing school is for the situation in which the ethnicity of the father is not known. You know that your husband is Chinese. And yes, it's just a suggestion.

Birth certificates, etc., are for statistical purposes. In the United States the racial or ethnic heritage of a child is for the most part of no consequence, as far as "the law" is concerned. An exception would be for certain "affirmative action" programs. If your child should ever need to qualify for these, it is not necessary that his racial category be on his birth certificate. In any event, putting "other" on the birth certificate will be sufficient.

Winston Mortain and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Winston Mortain replied 9 years ago.
By the way, I have given a legal opinion, and that you can get a Health answer if you want, based on biological issues.

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