TN 3 (11-06)

PR 01210.024 Massachusetts

A. PR 06-361 Survey - State Law Requirements for Entry of Father's Name and Surname on Birth Certificate of Child Born Out of Wedlock - New England States

DATE: October 11, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

All New England states have statutes that require that before a father's name is placed on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents, the father must furnish some sort of a written acknowledgment of parentage, or both the father and mother must consent to the father's name being included on the birth certificate. In addition, all the states in New England have statutes that provide that if the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate.

Vermont's current law took effect on September 1, 1997. All the other states have had the requirement since at least 1980.

2. OPINION

This memo responds to your request from September 20, 2006 to furnish a precedent opinion regarding New England state law requirements for the entry of the father's name and surname on the birth certificate of a child born out of wedlock. You have also requested that we furnish the effective date for any statute that specifies the criteria needed for a father's name and surname to appear on the birth certificate of a child born out of wedlock. This memo also acts as a follow-up to the memo put forth by this office on February 14, 2003.

I reviewed the statutes of all six New England states. The requirements regarding the entry of the father's name on the birth certificate for a child born out of wedlock are current through the conclusion of the legislative sessions for 2005. In summary, the review of the laws of the New England states reveals that as of this date, all the states in New England have statutes that require that before a father's name is placed on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents, the father must furnish some sort of a written acknowledgment of parentage, or both the father and mother must consent to the father's name being included on the birth certificate. In addition, all the states in New England have statutes that provide that if the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate.

Connecticut law requires a written acknowledgment of paternity by the father at the hospital before the father's name may be placed on a birth certificate. If the father's name is added to a birth certificate at a latter date, both the mother and father must execute an acknowledgment of paternity. If the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be placed on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents.

Maine law requires that with a child not born of marraige, both the mother and father must execute a written consent for the father's name to be placed on the birth certificate. If the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate of child born to unmarried parents.

Massachusetts law requires that when parents are not married to each other, both parents must execute an acknowledgment of paternity before the father's name may be included on the birth certificate. If the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by court of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents.

New Hampshire law requires that when the mother is not married to the father of the child, a notarized affidavit of paternity must be executed by both the mother and father before the father's name may be placed on the birth certificate. If the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents.

Rhode Island law requires written consent of both the mother and father before the father's name may be entered on the birth certificate. If the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents.

Since 1997, Vermont law has provided that the name of the father of a child born to unmarried parents will be included on the birth certificate, but only if the father and mother have signed a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage. If the issue of paternity has been adjudicated by a court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, the father's name will be included on a birth certificate of a child born to unmarried parents.

With respect to the effective dates of these requirements: our research has revealed that all New England states, except for Vermont, have, from as early as 1930, had policies, i.