How to Remove A Non-Biological Parent From a Birth Certificate

Last updated June 29th, 2023

A birth certificate is a government-issued document which officially records the birth of a child. The document features vital information of the birth, including the names of the parents.

A birth certificate can have either the biological father’s or non-biological father’s name. This is based on the parents’ decision at the time of the child’s birth.

In some circumstances, you may wish to remove a parent’s name from a birth certificate. This page explains the following:

  • Who can remove a father’s name
  • Reasons to change a name
  • How to remove a father’s name
  • Parental rights of a father

When Would a Non-Biological Father Appear on a Birth Certificate?

There are a number of reasons why a person who is not biologically related to a child would appear on their birth certificate.

Sometimes this can happen accidentally, if the parents incorrectly identify the biological father. In other cases, a non-biological father may actively choose to be named on the birth certificate.

If a non-biological father accepts parentage for a child, this is usually due to the absence of the biological father. They may have refused responsibility for the child, or be deemed unfit for parenthood.

Can I Remove a Parent’s Name From a Birth Certificate?

The purpose of a birth certificate is to provide true and accurate information on every birth. It is vital that the information is correct, as the document is required for a number of official procedures.

To avoid incorrect information appearing on a birth certificate, the U.S. government allows certain details to be altered.

Though it is possible to remove a parent’s name, it is not always recommended. Depending on the U.S. state you are in, it can also be a lengthy and difficult process.

Reasons to Remove a Non-Biological Father from a Birth Certificate

There are different reasons why someone would request a non-biological parent to be removed from a birth certificate. Usually this is due to a change in circumstances, or the discovery of new information.

One situation for a non-biological father to be removed is the biological father has begun to take responsibility for the child.

Another reason may be that the non-biological father no longer wishes to be responsible, or is deemed unfit to fill their role as a parent.

Sometimes new information is discovered which reveals who the biological father is, and therefore requires the birth certificate to be updated.

How to Take a Non-Biological Father Off a Birth Certificate

In the United States there is no national-level process for changing a vital record, the procedure varies from state to state.

You can find out exactly how to remove a non-biological father from a birth certificate by contacting a vital records office in the state that issued the original document.

Most states require a valid reason why the name should be changed. In many states, like California, the name can only be officially changed through a court order.

What is required to get a court order for a birth certificate change?

States often require a court order to remove the father’s name from a birth certificate to verify the change and ensure the name is not being unfairly removed.

The minimum documentation that is required is usually a certified copy of the birth certificate and a signed affidavit from the non-biological father, stating that they no longer wish to be listed. In some cases, the biological father’s signature may also be requested.

You may also be required to prove that the removal of the father’s name is in the child’s best interests.

Proving paternity for a court order

In cases where the paternity of the child is being challenged, you may need to provide the court with proof. This could be a DNA test proving that the father is not biologically related to the child, or a DNA test showing that someone else is.

For courts that require a DNA test to prove paternity, only court-approved tests are accepted. You cannot provide a home DNA test.

Does a Father Have Parental Rights if They Are Not on the Birth Certificate?

A father who is not listed on the child’s birth certificate has no parental rights, as he is not legally recorded as the father.

If a father believes he is entitled to parental rights, then he must take the necessary steps to claim paternity and establish his rights as a parent. This could be custody, contact with the child, or paying child support.