Most people have both their father’s and mother’s names on their birth certificate. However, some people do not. Your original birth certificate may have just your mother’s name on it, which can lead you to wonder why. Perhaps your mother was not in a relationship and did not include the father’s name in the birth record. Even in the case of a married couple, though, some birth certificates don’t include the father’s name.
In this article, we’ll cover reasons why your father’s name might not be on your birth certificate. We will also discuss what it means for you, and how you can take steps to change the birth record if desired.
Why Isn’t My Father’s Name on My Birth Certificate?
There are three primary reasons your father’s name might not be on your birth certificate. He was not present during the birth or your parents weren’t together at the time. Another reason is that a legislation error may have omitted his name.
Purposeful Omission – If your parents were not together, your mother may have chosen to leave your father’s name off your original birth certificate. In most cases, the hospital or vital records office will require that the father and mother sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity to put the father on the birth certificate. The father signs the form to agree that he accepts paternal rights and is legally the child’s father. The mother signs to agree that the man is the father and wants him to have full parental rights. Two uninterested parties, typically provided by the hospital must witness and sign this form. There are many reasons why one or the other party may not sign. For example, if the father was not present at the time of birth and your parents never updated your birth certificate. That means the father’s name would not be on the original birth certificate.
Legislation Error – In some cases, your parents may have signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity after the original date. Your copy may not have your father’s name, but the version at the vital records office may. In other cases, it may have been omitted completely because of a legislation error.
What Are the Legal Implications?
U.S. birth certificates are used to prove parental rights. They are one of several certified vital records essential to claiming your rights as a U.S. citizen. Not having your father’s name on your birth certificate will not affect you as a minor. However, it will affect your ability to claim insurance, inheritance, and death benefits.
You will need the father’s name on the birth certificate to:
- Prove identity – Any child under the age of 18 will need any parent listed on the birth certificate present to sign documents for getting a passport, attending most schools, or getting a driver’s license. If the father is not on the birth certificate, he does not have to be there.
- Claim child support
- Claim death benefits
- Receive insurance coverage
The father can assert his parental rights at any time. If your father has deceased and you wish to claim death benefits, you can no longer update the birth record.
How Can You Update a Birth Certificate with the Father’s Name?
If your father’s name is not on your birth certificate for whatever reason, you can choose to update it. However, the specific process will vary depending on the state.
You will need:
- An original copy of the birth certificate. This should be a certified copy. If you do not have it, use VitalRecordsOnline to order online birth certificates.
- An affidavit signed by both parents acknowledging the paternity.
- Most states charge a fee between $20 and $75 that you can pay via check or money order.
Once you have these documents, you can make an appointment with the vital records office to request a birth certificate replacement. In most cases, it will take about a month to receive your birth certificate replacement. The form, which is typically a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage allows anyone to claim the right of paternity regardless of gender – even if you are adopted. You may need to have this document certified for legal reasons. You cannot get a fast birth certificate replacement if you are changing a name or adding a parent. So, you should plan to apply at least three weeks before you need the certificate.
Can I Order Birth Certificates Online?
If you are over 21 or have your parent’s help, you can order a new copy of your birth certificate online. You will need your photo ID to do so. However, you will have to apply to the Vital Records Office to make changes.
Can You Remove a Parent From Your Birth Certificate?
In most cases, you can have the second parent (not the mother) removed from the original copy of the birth certificate. However, you will have to acquire court verified paternity documents showing that the person claiming paternity is not your father.
It may be necessary to remove a father from the birth certificate if the child is a minor (under 18) and the father is unavailable to sign permissions. For example, if the father is absent, most children will have difficulty attending school, as parental permission is needed from both parties on the birth certificate. In this case, a court may agree to remove the father from the birth certificate.
Do You Need Your Father’s Name on Your Birth Certificate?
While many people prefer to have their father’s name on their birth certificate, it is not necessary. The only time you might want to have it is when trying to claim insurance, death benefits, or inheritance. Unfortunately, you cannot add the father’s name to your birth certificate after he has deceased.
If you want to learn more about how to get a replacement birth certificate or what it’s for, check our article on birth certificates here.