Does putting the name on the birth certificate establish paternity?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Family Law

The birth certificate is a legal record of the birth of a child. It provides a wealth of information and details about the baby.

Included in that information are the names of the mother and father. However, a common misconception is that putting your name on this document gives you paternal rights.

Not a legal method for rights

Putting your name on a child’s birth certificate gives you no legal rights. Establishing paternity depends on the marital status of the mother. If you are her spouse, then you are the legal father and have all rights to the child. If you are not her spouse, then you have no rights until you go through the proper steps to establish them.

The proper steps require additional paperwork. You could have to also go to court if the mother does not want to voluntarily recognize your rights.

The real purpose of a birth certificate

The only role of a birth certificate is to record the child’s identity. The government uses it for a variety of purposes. It acts as proof of citizenship and provides information for the census and other vital statistics. Parents will use it as proof for tax purposes and to secure certain benefits.

The misconception that putting your name on the birth certificate is all you need to do to establish your legal rights to parent a child can be harmful. If the mother decides to take the child from you in the future, you will have a legal battle if you did not ensure you established paternity through the correct channels.