For various reasons there are times when a birth certificate needs to be changed or corrected. Sometimes, it is due to parental rights or lineage. Sometimes it is due to a mistake made on the original document. In either case, it is absolutely essential to a child's future to have the name of their actual father listed on his or her birth certificate. Although the steps are somewhat different according to what state the child was born in, the basics are essentially the same.
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Write a letter stating the father's name that should appear on the birth certificate and describe the reason for the change. If there was no father ever listed on the birth certificate you will need to have his written and notarised permission. The mother will need to sign this letter as well. Deliver this letter to the department of vital records in the state of birth. Some states require both the parents to fill out an application requesting the amendment and will attach the notarised letter to the application.
Pay the required amendment fee, which varies from state to state. You may also need to pay a fee in order to receive a revised copy of the birth certificate.
Complete what is known as a recognition of parentage form if the mother and father are not married at the time of the birth. This is an agreement between both parents and the state of birth as to who the child's father is according to law.
Request a court ordered paternity adjudication if the mother or father do not agree on parentage. This can be obtained from the county court office where you live. An adjudication is a legal process by which a judge reviews statements and evidence from both the mother and father and makes a decision. In most cases DNA tests will be ordered to help the judge decide whether the father's name on the child's birth certificate needs to be added or changed.
Add a non-biological father's name to the birth certificate if he has legally adopted the child. You will be required to provide legal documentation of adoption as well as written permission by the biological father if he is living or known. You may also request a court order to have the biological fathers paternity terminated if he is known. This is a serious step and should be considered only in cases where the father cannot be located or is unfit according to the law. You will need to contact your county court office for assistance on this matter, and an attorney's services may be necessary.
Tips and warnings
- Contact your local child support agency for a wide variety of assistance involving parental rights.
- A child's birth certificate is a legal document that will be with him for the rest of his life. It is important to consider the long-term effects of the actions you take now.
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