You can only remove a biological father’s name from a birth certificate if they no longer have parental rights (adopted by a stepfather) or if you wrongly presumed the father. The court cannot remove the biological father’s name for reasons such as absence or lack of support.
A birth certificate is a record that documents a person’s name, birthplace, date of birth, and parentage. Suppose it is necessary to change details on a birth certificate, such as the father’s name, e.g., the mother may have incorrectly presumed fatherhood or re-marry and want to petition to have the stepfather adopt her child., she can appeal to alter the document. These petitions can be confusing, so here’s how to remove a father’s name from a birth certificate.
As long as removing the father’s name is in the child’s best interest or he is not the biological father, you can petition to change or remove the father’s name. Read on to find out how to start the removal process, the father’s rights if not listed on the birth certificate, and the importance of establishing paternity.
Related Reading: Signs Your Father Is Not Biological Father
Removing Your Father’s Name From Birth Certificate
There are only two acceptable reasons for removing or changing a father’s name on a birth certificate—non-paternity or terminating or relinquishing parental rights (adoption by a stepfather).
To remove or change the father’s name in a birth certificate, you must file an appeal with the court and present valid reasoning for your case.
Commonly, the listed father on the birth certificate can turn out not to be the child’s biological father. The mother might have incorrectly presumed fatherhood, only discovering it afterward.
The presumed father, biological father, or mother may petition to remove the father’s name on the birth certificate. Once demanded, the court will reach a decision, and if they agree, the mother can remove the listed father’s name on the birth certificate.
The mother can decide if they want to leave it blank, add the biological father’s name, and change the surname on the child’s birth certificate.
To remove or change the father’s name, they require you to:
- Appeal to the court to remove named father from the birth certificate.
- Present the paternity test of the named father proving non-paternity.
- Prove that removal of father’s name is in the child’s best interest.
In cases where the mother re-married after a divorce, the stepfather can appeal to become the child’s legal father only when the biological father is no longer present in the child’s life. Once the court agrees, the child will receive a new birth certificate with the adoptive father’s name on it.
The biological father either renounces or the court terminates his parental rights.
Related Reading: Can My Step-Dad Adopt Me? [it depends]
Father’s Rights If He’s Not Listed On Birth Certificate
In some cases, the biological father’s name is omitted from the birth certificate. Either the mother or the father deliberately left it off the birth certificate, or it cannot be added due to legal causes. The mother or the father would often like to know if the father is allowed parental rights.
If the birth certificate is left blank or lists the father as someone else, a biological father has no legal rights regarding the child because he is not legally recorded as the father. This means that the father has no custody over the child, cannot contact or visit the child, and is not obliged to pay child support.
Establishing The Father’s Legal Rights
If the father acknowledges that he is the biological father and wants to acquire legal rights and parental responsibility, he can sign a paternity affidavit. If the mother is unwilling to agree to the paternity affidavit, the father can solicit a DNA test in order to prove that he is the biological father.
Once the court declares the biological father as the legal father, he has rights to custody, visitation and will be obligated to pay child support if needed. Custody and visitation can be discussed with the mother either with or without assistance from the court. If problems arise regarding the father’s legal rights, court-ordered custody and visitation may be necessary.
Court-ordered custody and visitation would mean that the mother must allow the father to visit the child; otherwise, she will be held in contempt of court. The father may also file an appeal to pay child support if he believes it is required.
Related Reading: Can I Sue My Father for Abandonment? [IS IT LEGAL]
Child Support When Father’s Name Isn’t On Birth Certificate
Child support is a continuous payment that needs to be made by a parent for financial assistance. Even if the biological father’s name does not appear on the birth certificate, he has a legal obligation to pay child support. Only once the biological father is established in court will he be required to pay child support. An unconfirmed father is not required to pay child maintenance.
The father must pay child support to the mother, if needed, regardless of whether his name is recorded on the birth certificate or not.
The court decides upon the amount payable based on the parent’s financial situation, e.g., if the father does not earn much, he will pay less for child support, or if the father makes more money, he will pay more for child support.
Importance Of Establishing Paternity
Here are the reasons why establishing paternity is beneficial to the child:
- The child has the right to know who their father is and the details about their background
- The child has a legal right to benefits from the father
- The father can establish a relationship with the child and organize visitations
Establishing paternity is also important for medical reasons. The child needs to know their father’s medical history. The child and the child’s doctor must be aware of any diseases or genetic traits that can influence the child’s well-being. Once the father signs a paternity affidavit, he can add the child to his medical insurance.
Related Reading: How Do I Sell My Father’s Property?
It might seem unfair not to be able to remove an absent father from your child’s birth certificate. Unfortunately, the biological father’s name may not be removed unless a stepfather petitioned a name removal or you listed the wrong person as the father. Name removal can be an easy or difficult process, depending on the parents and their attitude towards one another.
The mother also needs to accept the legal rights of the father and the long-term benefits of having the father in the child’s life. When it comes to our children, we have to make decisions that will assure their well-being, even if we disagree.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.