PR 01210.016 Illinois

A. PR 02-031 State Law Regulations Regarding Appearance of Father's Name on a Birth Certificate of a Nonmarital Child

DATE: February 13, 2002

1. SYLLABUS

To determine if there is written acknowledgment under section 216(h)(3) of the Act, this opinion provides the written consent/court order requirements of each State in Region V for entering a father's name on the BC of a nonmarital child, or showing the child's surname the same as the father's.

2. OPINION

You have asked us to advise you of the current law for each state in Region V regarding the appearance of the father's name on the birth certificate of a nonmarital child. Specifically, you have asked us to determine whether state law requires either the father's written consent or a court determination of paternity before the father's name can be entered on the birth certificate of a child born out of wedlock. You have also asked us to determine whether state law requires the father's written consent or a court determination of paternity before the birth certificate can show the child's surname to be that of the father's. Our findings are as follows:

In Illinois, the father's name can appear on the birth certificate of a nonmarital child only if the mother and the person to be named as the father have signed an acknowledgement of parentage. 410 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 535/12(4) (West 2001) (“if the mother was not married to the father of the child at either the time of conception or the time of birth, the name of the father shall be entered on the child's birth certificate only if the mother and the person to be named as father have signed an acknowledgement of parentage”). The law provides that, at the time of the birth of a child to an unmarried woman, the institution and the local registrar or county clerk must provide an opportunity for the child's mother and father to sign an acknowledgement of parentage. 410 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 535/12(5)(a). The signing and witnessing of the acknowledgement of parentage conclusively establishes a parent and child relationship in accordance with the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984. See 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 45/5(a)(4); 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 45/6(a).

The father's name will also be entered on the birth certificate of a nonmarital child once a court has entered a judgment establishing paternity. 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 45/14(d) (“If the judgment or order of the court is at variance with the child's birth certificate, the court shall order that a new birth certificate be issued under the Vital Records Act.”); see also 410 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 535/17(1)(c) (new birth certificate should be issued upon order of the circuit court).

Finally, there is no specific provision of Illinois law pertaining to the designation of the surname of a nonmarital child. However, at common law, “every person is free to assume any surname he or she pleases.” Thomas v. Thomas, 427 N.E. 2d 1009, 1010 (Ill. App.3d (1981). Therefore, it does not appear that either the father's consent or a court determination of paternity would be required before the birth certificate can show the child's surname to be that of the putative father.

CONCLUSION

These are the current requirements for the appearance of the father's name and the child's surname on the birth certificate of a nonmarital child in each of the six states in our region. As requested, we have appended a chart detailing the above information and effective dates for your use.

Thomas W. C~
Regional Chief Counsel

By: _______________________
Kathryn A. B~
Assistant Regional Counsel

Illinois

Written Consent Father's NameYes — 1/1/62
Court Order Father's NameYes — 1/1/62
Written Consent Child's SurnameNo — but no statutory provision
Court Order Child's SurnameNo — but no statutory provision

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1501210016
PR 01210.016 - Illinois - 01/30/2008