birth certificate format

How to Change or Modify Your Birth Certificate

Our birth certificates are one of the most important certified documents we’ll ever obtain. Not only does it prove our age, but it proves our identity, citizenship, and location of birth. We need our birth certificates to get numerous different legal documents including passports, but it’s also used as a form of ID when being hired for a new job, enrolled in school, or signed up for any military division. It’s not uncommon that when you first view your birth certificate, whether the original or a certified copy, you’ll find that there is an error or other kind of mistake. In these cases, it’s imperative that you are able to change or modify your birth certificate to reflect all of the pertinent details that identify who you are.

Some reasons you may need to change or modify your birth certificate include changing your birth certificate age or changing the birth certificate date. These are mistakes that can happen to anyone, and are relatively easy to rectify. Simply contacting the vital records department that was responsible for issuing the original certificate will get you the information you need to proceed.

When it comes to changing a birth certificate after a name change or after adoption, the process is a little more involved. If the individual is under 1 year of age, you may be able to submit paperwork allowing you to change your child’s name without a court order. Each state’s regulations will vary. If you’re over 1 year of age and your name change is not due to marriage, you may be required to have a court order to successfully change your name. This just means you’ll be required to prove who you are, and in most cases you’ll have to include why you’ve decided to rename yourself.

If you’ve been married and you’re concerned about a change of birth certificate after marriage, you don’t need to be as concerned. A name change due to marriage doesn’t require a legal name change on your birth certificate.

If you are required to get a court order to legally change or modify your birth certificate you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Contact the office of the court that handles name changes local to you. Fill out and submit a petition for a change of name with the correct office.
  • On your court date, appear in front of the judge and let them know why you wish to change your name. The judge may approve or deny your request. If your request is approved you’ll receive a certified order stating you are allowed to use the name you petitioned for.
  • Contact the vital records office responsible for issuing your original birth certificate. Inquire as to what documentation they need to issue you a new birth certificate with your new legal name. This documentation may be an application and fees may be associated.
  • When you mail in your application, you’ll want to include a certified copy of your old birth certificate, a certified copy of your name change order, and any associated fees you are required to pay.

If you’re looking for a replacement birth or marriage certificate to help you with processing any modifications, you can order a certified copy of vital records at


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