Having the Father's Name on the Birth Certificate

Pros and cons of listing the father on the birth certificate

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

It can be hard for single moms to list the father's name on their baby's birth certificate. For married parents, the husband is automatically assumed to be the father of the child. However, unwed mothers are asked in the hospital to provide the name of the birth father. Let's explore the factors you should consider before listing the father's name on your baby's birth certificate.

Pros and Cons

There are several benefits to adding the father's name to a child's birth certificate, bringing with it some entitlements. However, there can be some drawbacks or perceived drawbacks, depending on your circumstances and relationship with the other parent.


How to Add a Father's Name

You can add a father's name to the birth certificate either when it is created initially or after it has been issued.

Required Documents

Hospitals generally require the following information to add a father to the child's birth certificate:

  • Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form signed by both the father and mother.
  • The signing of the AOP must also be witnessed and signed by two uninterested parties

Adding a Father's Name Later

Although it is preferable for parents to add a father's name to the child's birth certificate at the time of birth, it is possible to add the father's name to a child's birth certificate after the birth certificate is issued. Although the process varies by state, you can generally expect:

  • To pay an additional charge to add a name to the child's birth certificate after the child leaves the hospital
  • To wait a long time to receive the corrected birth certificate

To amend the child's birth certificate after it's issued, a parent would need to do the following:

  • Submit a copy of the original birth certificate to the Department of Vital Statistics in your state
  • Pay the applicable fee
  • To ask the father to sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity
  • A new birth certificate with the child's name will then be sent to the parents
  • It may take at least a month to receive a new birth certificate

A Word From Verywell

There are several reasons to consider adding the father's name to a child's birth certificate, but in the end, it's a personal choice. You will need to consider many possibilities for the relationship with the child's father going forward, potentially for the rest of your lives. For more considerations about whether to add the father's name to your baby's birth certificate, speak with a qualified attorney in your state.

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Article Sources
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  1. What are the pros and cons of establishing paternity? Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

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