If there is a typographical error on your child’s birth certificate, you are able to make changes. Each state has their own laws about how to amend a birth certificate. In New York, the procedure for how to change a birth certificate will depend on your child’s age.

What is the Procedure for Correcting Errors if my Child is Under 12 Months Old?

If your child is under 12 months of age, changing a birth certificate is a much simpler process. You will have to complete an application provided by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

You will then have to submit the application and the original birth certificate directly to the hospital to request the change. You will also need to submit any fee that is required in order for the amendment to be processed and approved.

What is the Procedure for Correcting Errors if my Child is Over 12 Months Old?

If your child is over 12 months of age, you will have to submit official documentation supporting the changes you with to make to the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. While the type of documentation required will depend on the type of change you are requesting, it generally will need to include the child’s name, child’s date of birth and parent(s’) name(s).

The documentation also should be from before the child’s 7th birthday or at least 10 years old in order to support the authenticity of the document. You will also need to submit any fee that is required in order for the amendment to be processed and approved. The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website clearly lists what type of documentation is required for each type of change.

What are Some Common Changes Made to Birth Certificates?

Amendments to birth certificates are generally requested to correct minor errors. Some examples of these are:

  • Correcting spelling errors in general;
  • Correcting spelling errors to the child’s name;
  • Correcting spelling errors to the parents’ names; and
  • Adding information to fields that were accidentally left blank on the birth certificate.

Keep in mind that if you wish to make a major change to a birth certificate, such as adding another parent’s name to a birth certificate, a court order will be required.

Should I Contact an Attorney?

You typically do not need the help of an attorney to correct a birth certificate. Once you file the correct paperwork and pay the fee(s), then the process should go smoothly. However, if you are unable to make the changes (after following the steps correctly), then there may be something more serious that is stopping the process. It’s important to find out what is stopping you from correcting the birth certificate and then, if you need to go before a judge or appear in court, contact a family law lawyer to represent you through the process. It’s important to take the previous steps before you contact a New York family lawyer, as they cannot help you until all other avenues have been explored.