A child’s name may be amended or corrected for various reasons such as paternity issues,
adoption, and State rules permitting a name change based on a parent’s affidavit.
One of the most common reasons a BC is amended is for paternity reasons.
Generally, an unmarried mother’s surname is shown on the birth certificate as her
child’s surname unless the father of the child signs a form at the hospital acknowledging
paternity or there is a court order concerning paternity. If the father acknowledges
paternity, and both of the parents consent to have the child’s surname changed on
the birth certificate, then the State office of vital records will change the birth
certificate to show the father’s surname as the child’s surname. The father’s name
may also be added or changed based on acknowledgment of paternity.
In most States, the way to acknowledge paternity is to sign an official form acknowledging
paternity. This form is known as a paternity affidavit, acknowledgement of paternity,
declaration of paternity, recognition of parentage, paternity establishment, or order
of legitimation. The father may also file a legal action (go to court for an order
of paternity) to acknowledge paternity of the child.
When the child’s surname is changed based on acknowledgement of paternity, the State
office of vital records issues a new or amended birth certificate for the child.
In many cases, if the paternity of the child is acknowledged shortly after birth,
the child may not have an identity document showing his/her name as it is shown on