PR 01210.025 Michigan

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 Michigan, “if [a] child's mother was not married at the time of conception or birth, the name of the father shall not be entered on the [birth certificate] without the written consent of the mother and without the completion, and filing with the state registrar, of an acknowledgement of parentage by the mother and the individual to be named as father.” MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 333.2824(2) (West 2001). Thus, the father's consent is required before his name can be entered on the birth certificate of a nonmarital child. If the paternity of a child is determined by the court, Michigan law provides that “the name of the father shall be entered on the [birth certificate] as found and ordered by the court.” MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 333.2824 (4). Therefore, a court determination of paternity would alternatively be required before the father's name can appear on the birth certificate of a nonmarital child.

Michigan law also contains specific provisions regarding the designation of a surname for a nonmarital child. If an acknowledgement of parentage has been completed in accordance with the statute regarding paternity determinations, the surname of the child is designated by both parents. MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 333.2824(2). If there is no acknowledgment of parentage, the child is given the surname designated by the mother. MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 333.2824(3). The mother also designates the surname if the child's paternity was determined by the court. MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 333.2824(4). Because it is unlikely that one can discern from the birth certificate of a nonmarital child whether the father's surname was used pursuant to an acknowledgement of parentage or a court determination of paternity, and because the law provides different rules for designating surnames depending on which method is used to establish paternity, one cannot presume that the father's consent or a court order was obtained if the birth certificate shows the child's surname to be that of the father. This is also true, given that the mother can choose whatever surname she pleases, if she is unmarried and no acknowledgment of parentage was executed.

MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN. § 333.2824(3).

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

Michigan

Written Consent Father's NameYes — 9/30/78
Court Order Father's NameYes — 9/30/78
Written Consent Child's SurnameNo — 9/30/78
Court Order Child's SurnameNo — 9/30/78

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http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1501210025
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