How to amend a birth certificate and add the father?

When my son was born (he’s now 2), I didn’t put the father’s name down. We were only dating at the time. We are now married with a second son. I want to amend the birth certificate and add my husband’s name. Would we need a paternity test? I want to already be as prepared as possible when we talk to an attorney.

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Family Law, Virginia


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding making an amendment to your child’s birth certificate to add your child’s father’s name to the birth certificate.  Making an amendment to a birth certificate will likely go through your state’s department of health and the laws and procedures for making an amendment to a birth certificate can vary from state to state.  Your state may or may not be technologically advanced, and if not, you may have to complete paperwork and send the paperwork through the regular mail.  Other states may have the technology set up so that you can complete all of the necessary paperwork online, and even make all necessary payment arrangements for filing fees online.  Of course if you do not feel comfortable with giving your financial information over the internet, there should still be an option to send a hard copy in regular mail and attach a check to the hard copy. 

Making an amendment to a birth certificate may be difficult, because you need to prove that the amendment is accurate and justified.  In this instance, you would need to prove that the child’s father’s name was accurate, and the only want to prove the accuracy of paternity is with a paternity test.  You may want to contact the department of health to see which agencies they will approve for paternity tests, and then go and have the paternity test completed at one of their approved labs. 

Once you have the results, you should be prepared for the amendment.  If you need further guidance, you should contact a family law attorney in your area to assist you.


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