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 California, if you or the hospital made a small error on a birth certificate, you can file an amendment with the California Department of Public Health Vital Records.

What Information Can Be Changed with an Amendment?

Amendments to birth certificates can only correct minor errors. In the state of California, changes can only be made in the following situations:

  • To correct spelling errors in general;
  • To correct spelling errors to the child’s name;
  • To correct spelling errors to the parents’ names;
  • To add “AKA” name changes to a parent, if the parent’s name was changed;
  • To correct statistical information for the parents; and
  • To add information to fields that were left blank.

What is the Procedure for Correcting Errors?

In order to amend minor errors on a birth certificate, you will need to file paperwork with the California Department of Public Health Vital Records. The following paperwork and documents should be submitted:

  • Affidavit to Amend a Record (Form VS 24), which can be found on the department’s website;
  • Notarized Sworn Statement, if you are requesting a certified copy of the amended record;
  • Hospital documentation (if the error was made by the hospital);
  • Photocopy of parent’s birth certificate, if you are changing the spelling of a parent’s name or their statistical information; and
  • Photocopy of the child’s current birth certificate, if it is in your possession.

You will also need to submit any fee that is required in order for the amendment to be processed and approved. Although some of the above items are optional, supplying them may expedite the process. And if you do not submit all the required papers, then your application will be returned. Also, keep in mind that if you wish to entirely change any part of your child’s name, translate the name to a different language of remove a parent’s name off of a birth certificate, a court order will be required.

Should I Contact an Attorney?

You can request an amendment to your child’s birth certificate without an attorney, as it is just a matter of paperwork and paying the fee. However, if you have tried to handle it and were unsuccessful due to a roadblock, then you may want to contact a California lawyer to find out what options you might have. A serious roadblock would be something that will require you to go to court and speak to a judge about a court order.