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 Ohio, the father's name can be entered on the birth certificate of a nonmarital
child only if both the mother and father sign an acknowledgment of paternity affidavit.
OHIO REV. CODE. ANN. §§ 3705.09(F)(2), (G) (West 2001). Thus, the father must give
his consent before being named on the birth certificate, if the child is born out
If a man is found to be the father of a child pursuant to an order of the court and
documentary evidence of that fact is submitted to the department of health, “a new birth record shall be issued by the department of health which shall have the
same overall appearance as the record which would have been issued . . . if a marriage
had occurred before the birth of such child.” OHIO REV. CODE. ANN. §3705.09(G); see also OHIO REV. CODE. ANN. § 3111.18 (“upon the order of a court of this state . . . the department of health shall prepare
a new birth record consistent with the findings of the court and shall substitute
the new record for the original birth record.”). Thus, a court determination of paternity would alternatively be required before
the name of the father could be entered on the birth record of a nonmarital child.
As for surnames, in Ohio, the father does not have to provide his consent before the
nonmarital child can take his surname. Rather, the child is registered by whatever
surname the mother chooses. OHIO REV. CODE. ANN. §3705.09(F)(2) (“If the mother was not married at the time of conception or birth or between conception
and birth, the child shall be registered by the surname designated by the mother.”). There is no provision in the Ohio statutes regarding the designation of a surname
if paternity is established by an order or judgment of the court.
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
Kathryn A. B~
Assistant Regional Counsel
|Written Consent Father's Name
||Yes — 3/16/89
|Court Order Father's Name
||Yes — 3/16/89
|Written Consent Child's Surname
||No — 1/1/98
|Court Order Child's Surname