no father on the birth certificate

No Father on Birth Certificate? What does it mean?

Getting your newborn’s birth certificate is something most hospitals or midwives will help you with after you give birth. While it may vary by state or location, typically the mother fills out certificate of live birth which will be used to create a birth certificate. A few days after the birth of your child, the birth certificate is ready to be picked up at the town hall or mailed to the parents. The form will ask for your newborn’s information, mother’s information, and father’s information. However, it may be up to the mother of the child on whether or not the child’s birth certificate contains the father’s information. A mother may declare no father on the birth certificate if the couple is not legally married and, believe it or not, this is quite common. While parental rights for an unmarried couple aren’t quite as simple as they are for a married couple, rest assured that both the mother and father have options.


When a couple is not legally married and they have a child together, the father can choose to fill out a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity affidavit. This document will legally declare him as the father and will result in his name and information appearing on the child’s birth certificate. If the father does not voluntarily fill this document out, he will not appear on the child’s birth certificate. There are pros and cons of putting the father on birth certificate but ultimately the decision is extremely personal. One benefit of having the father listed is that your child, until the age of 18, will be entitled to social security death benefits if the father passes away. In addition, the mother of the child may find it easier to get child support from the father with his name on the birth certificate. On the other hand, with no father named on the birth certificate, the mother may have easier access to full custody depending on the state. Disadvantages of having the father on the birth certificate almost always concern custody, however it is important to know that a father can fight for custody and visitation rights even if he is not listed on the birth certificate. Some states automatically assume that a single mother has full custody of her child but the father can file a paternity action which will start  legal proceedings to grant him some degree of custody rights.


Since the parental rights laws vary from state to state, it is wise to research the pros and cons of listing the father on the birth certificate before making a final decision. A great resource for this can be found here at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. And of course a father’s name can also be added to a birth certificate later in life by filing to amend the birth record. Just be sure to update any original or certified copies of birth certificates from when the father’s name was not listed! For help obtaining a certified copy of a newly amended or brand new birth certificate, visit VitalChek’s online birth certificate ordering service.  


  1. My mother in law claims that my husband was never issued a birth certificate because he was born in the doctor’s office. He has had a passport every since he can remember. He doesn’t know his father and was born in Long Island, New York in 1968. Is this possible? How do I find out if he does have a birth certificate?

    1. Hello Dee Dee. Thanks for reaching out with your question. If he was born in one of the boroughs of NYC, he can contact the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for more information. If he was born outside of NYC, he will need to contact New York State Department of Health.

  2. Hello,

    My daughter is trying to get a passport for her
    Daughter and was told she needed eithervthevfather present. Her daughters father is incarcerated and she sent him a form for him to sign and the prison notarized it and she went to the get her passport and they said now they said she needed a license or photo Id. He does not have a license and the prison
    I’d is the only Id.

    1. Hello John. We are sorry to hear about this passport dilemma. One would think the notarized form from the prison would be sufficient in this circumstance. Your daughter may want to call the regional passport office for her area for additional information and to determine what documentation is acceptable and how to proceed. Please click here to visit the US. State Department website for more information on regional offices.

  3. My great grand son father passed away and he was not on birth certificate. For 11 years he paid child support and never denied him. He was named after him. Right now the mom is trying to get social security benefits. They told her to bring proof he is th e father. What should she do He paid child support up until he died and they were in court together when it it was ordered. Help

    1. Hello. Since the welfare of her child is involved she may want to consider seeking legal advice for this situation.

  4. If a father is not on the child’s birth certificate
    Is he force to pay child support???

    1. Hello Maria. Parental rights and responsibilities may vary from state to state so it would be best for you to research the laws in your state regarding the parental responsibilities of a father not listed on a child’s birth certificate.

  5. What if we’re unmarried and the father willingly acknowledges that he’s the father and fills out all the paper work, the mid wife and nurses also have to sign as witnesses and then you get the birth certificate and the fathers name is not on it. How does this happen?

    1. Hello Alexzandria. We suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued the birth certificate for more information as to why the father’s name was not included on the birth certificate.

  6. I’d like to find out what would be required for the father of the child to be included on the birth certificate if he is a foreigner and does not reside in the United States (nor has he ever been here). Can I add his name with his passport ID still or would there be more required. This is for DC vital records and Maryland vital records by the way, as the baby is due to be born in one of the two states (still undecided).

    1. Hello Zoe. Thanks for reaching out with your question. If hospital choices have been narrowed down, consider contacting them for more information as to what documentation is required to complete the birth record. Another option would be to contact DC Health Vital Records or Maryland Department of Health for more information.


    1. Hello. Thanks for reaching out with your questions. The Dual-Parent Signature Rule requires the signature of both parents on passport applications for children up to the age of 14. That being said, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if only one parent is listed on the birth certificate,then two signatures are not required.

      To correct the DOB error on your son’s birth certificate, contact the vital records agency that issued his certificate originally to determine their requirements for corrections.

  8. I have a question also. The father is not listed on the birth certificate. What rights does his mom have at this point? The mom is pushing to see the child and the childs mom is fearful he will be able to see his child and not have to pay. what do we do?

    1. Hello Susan. You may want to consider seeking legal advice so you you know who has what rights with regard to the child, visitation rights, child support, etc.

  9. Hi I did not have I.d on me when my son was born I would like to be on the birth certificate how and what should I do?

    1. Hello Adam. Each vital record agency may have different requirements for amending/correcting the information on the birth certificate. We suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued your son’s birth certificate to determine their procedure.

  10. My boyfriend’s kids mother passed away 2 years ago and he is not on 2 of these kids birth certificates. But 1 of the kids lives with us and we want his other child, who is with an aunt, (who will not give her back) and police said they couldn’t do anything because he’s not on there. With the mother being deceased, what do we have to do in order to get him out on there and get his daughter back?

    1. Hello Jessica. We are sorry to hear about your situation. Your boyfriend may want to consider seeking legal guidance in order to resolve this situation and may be required to submit to a paternity test to prove he is the father.

  11. Hi I was wondering I’m currently married was married when I had my daughter . My husband is not the biological father but remain on the birth certificate. Since the biological father didn’t want to put on it . What happens now that he wants rights over her ? Will he get them or will my husband continue to have the rights ? I even put a restraining order against him .

    1. Hello Milani. If the biological father now wants to be involved in his daughter’s life, he will need to pursue it through legal means if you are not agreeable to such a situation. The courts will more than likely require a paternity test and then they will make a ruling based on the outcome of that test and other factors related directly to your particular situation. We wish you the best.

  12. I’m married but have been separated
    (Not legally) I’ve have two other children
    with my now live-in boyfriend. Our oldest
    Has legally acknowledged as his daughter
    We haven’t received a new Birth certificate
    Yet does that mean he has rights to her?
    My other daughter I didn’t put either one on
    the birth certificate what rights does my
    husband have to her and what rights does
    her biological have if neither are listed on it?

    1. Hello Amber. The answers to your questions can vary from state to state. You might consider consulting with a family law professional in your area to determine all the paternal rights.

  13. My child’s father refuses to provide for her. Not to mention his mother is harassing me. Their environment is not safe or prepared for her. They are not financially stable. He uses a DNA test so he won’t have to provide for our daughter. Even though he know that she is his. I have dealt with so much stress and drama my entire pregnancy that I’ve decided that I don’t want him at her birth, and he refused to sign the birth certificate. I am going to give him the satisfaction of a DNA test because there is no question that she’s his. If we take a test at the hospital will they make him put his name on her birth certificate? I don’t want him to have any legal rights to her.

    1. Hello LaShaunta. Sorry to hear about your predicament. You may want to consult with a family law specialist for guidance on how to proceed.

  14. Hey, I have a question. If the father is not on the birth certificate but now He needs to be on it, but the child lives in Los Angeles and the father lives in Georgia. Whats the process? does he need to travel to Los Angeles or he can do a DNA test from another state

    1. Hello Genesis. Thanks for reaching out with your question. The child’s birth certificate will need to be amended to include the father’s name in the state where the child was born. We suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued the child’s birth certificate originally to determine what steps will need to be taken to add the father’s name. It is entirely possible that proof of paternity may be required.

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