Removing a Father from a Birth Certificate in California

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 Can a Father’s Name Be Removed from a Birth Certificate in California?

A birth certificate is a legal document that records information about a person’s birth, such as the date on which the person was born, where they were born, and who their parents are. This document is completed for all births that occur in the United States. Having a birth certificate is necessary for obtaining many other legal documents, such as a passport or a driver’s license.

Generally speaking, both of the child’s parents are named on the birth certificate. The law does allow a parent’s name to be removed from their child’s birth certificate under specific circumstances. This is the case in California. With a court order, a birth certificate may be changed. A person may be able to add, remove, or replace the name of a father on a California birth certificate.

One situation in which a father’s name may be removed is if a person is mistakenly named as the child’s biological father on the birth certificate. This might happen when a couple is married at the time of the child’s birth, but the person named as the father on the birth certificate turns out not to be the child’s biological father, in fact. Generally, when a couple is married and a child is born, it is assumed that the couple are the biological parents of that child.

This means that the presumed father of the child, in the eyes of the law, is the husband of the marriage. Another example would be if the child’s birthing mother is unsure of who the child’s biological father is and later discovers that it is someone other than the person named as the father on the birth certificate.

It is important to note that correcting name errors in a birth certificate or changing gender in a birth certificate are different procedures and can usually be accomplished without going to court.

A California lawyer would be able to explain in more detail how to deal with these situations.

How Can I Remove a Father from My Child’s Birth Certificate?

It is important to note that there is one way only to remove the name of a biological father from a birth certificate, and that is through adoption. To accomplish this adoption, the biological father would have to terminate or relinquish their parental rights. Or, the adoption might be accomplished after the biological father has passed away.

Only then could another person take over as the legal parent. A mother may not legally remove a biological father from the birth certificate, for example, simply for being an absentee father. More would be required.

In California, amending a birth certificate to change the father requires a court order in most situations. There is a two-step process to removing and replacing the father on a birth certificate in California.

The first step requires filing a petition in the Superior Court in the county in California in which a person lives. This petition asks the court to issue an order that gives the petitioner permission to change the identification of the father on the child’s birth certificate.

California requires such an order to ensure that the requested change is valid and to ensure that the name of a biological parent is not being unfairly removed from the birth certificate. Also, the named biological father of a child has certain responsibilities, such as providing for the child financially, including paying child support and providing medical insurance as applicable.

This legal protection is the reason why it is required that paternity be proven before the requesting party may receive their court order. Paternity refers to the process in which the applicant proves to the court that the father named on the child’s birth certificate is not, in fact, the child’s biological father.

If one parent is able to prove that the named father on the birth certificate is not the biological father, then they may be able to remove the named father. Some ways in which paternity may be proven include, but may not be limited to:

  • A signed affidavit of paternity;
  • The father treats the child as their own and provides for the child financially;
  • The father and mother were married at the time of the child’s birth;
  • The child lives with the father, and the father cares and provides for the child;
  • DNA testing.

Once paternity is proven to the court, the court issues an order that allows the petitioner to complete the next step of the name removal process. Proving paternity is further discussed below.

The second step to removing a father’s name from a child’s birth certificate in California involves filing the following:

  • A person may then submit a certified copy of the court’s Order Adjudicating Parentage to the California Department of Public Health, Vital Records Division (DPHVR);
  • A person should submit an Amendment of Birth Record to Reflect the Court Order Change of Name, which is form VS 23; or
  • A person should submit an Adjudication of Facts of Parentage, form VS 21, and any additional documentation and a fee to the California DPHVR.

It is important to remember that the Department of Public Health only amends a birth certificate if and when all of the filing requirements are met. The Department then issues the new, accurate birth certificate.

It is necessary to remove a father’s name from the birth certificate when they are not the biological father so that the named person is no longer legally responsible for providing support for the child.

The inverse of that statement is also true; it is necessary for the actual biological father to be legally responsible for the care and support of their child. It is best to begin the process of amending the birth certificate as soon as possible once it is discovered that the person named is not the child’s biological father.

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Father from a Birth Certificate?

The exact cost would depend on the particular circumstances of a person’s situation. If a person has to present proof of paternity, that may entail some cost. A court charges a fee for filing a petition. There is a fee for submitting forms to the Department of Public Health, although these fees are minimal, i.e., in the range of $23 to $26.

However, if a person does not have to engage in a lengthy dispute about paternity, the cost of changing a father’s name on a birth certificate might not be more than $50. If a petition for adoption by a step-parent is involved, it may cost several hundred dollars.

How Long Does It Take to Remove a Father from a Birth Certificate?

Again, the length of time it would take depends on the specific facts of a person’s case. If a paternity dispute is involved, it would take more time, possibly months. In less complex cases, it might take 2 or 3 months.

It is important to recognize that In some cases, the court may not approve a petition to remove a father’s name from a birth certificate. This may be true even if the named father is not the biological father. A court may determine that changing the father does not serve the best interests of the child, which is the court’s main consideration in these cases.

For example, if the mother and father on the birth certificate were married at the time of the birth, the father may not be able to remove his name. Courts may consider this legal paternity despite the results of any DNA test. Furthermore, if the father named on the birth certificate is one who provides financial support and a familial relationship to the child, removing his name may not benefit the child. In these circumstances, a court may refuse to allow it.

How Do I Prove Paternity to Get a Court Order?

As noted above, proving paternity is a necessary step in obtaining a court order in California. The father who is listed on a child’s birth certificate is presumed to be the child’s father, and as such, proof is required to dispute the paternity of the listed father as the biological father when that is not accurate.

The court wants to be absolutely certain that a person is or is not a child’s legal father in order to establish parental rights. Once again, paternity laws vary from state to state, but paternity is generally presumed from voluntary measures. DNA testing is not always necessary to determine whether a father’s name should be removed from a child’s birth certificate. However, such tests may be used in complex or disputed cases.

Establishing paternity is imperative for several reasons, some of which have already been mentioned. To reiterate, it is important to establish paternity for the following reasons:

  • The child’s legal right to benefits and support from their father;
  • The child’s knowledge of who their father is;
  • The father’s entitlement to visitation rights and a relationship with their child;
  • The father’s medical history and background are important information that the child may not be able to obtain otherwise.

What if the Hospital Spelled the Father’s Name Incorrectly on the Certificate?

It may be that the named father on the birth certificate is correct, but the spelling of their name is not due to an error on the part of the hospital. In the state of California, misspellings may be corrected without obtaining a court order and proving paternity. Correcting a spelling error on a birth certificate can be accomplished by submitting an affidavit to amend a birth certificate form to the California DPHVR.

Do I Need an Attorney to Remove a Father’s Name from My Child’s Birth Certificate?

If you are looking to remove a father’s name from your child’s birth certificate and you live in California, you should consult with an experienced local family law attorney in California. can connect you quickly to a local attorney who will likely produce the best and most accurate legal advice.

An experienced local family law attorney can help you begin the process and ensure you complete it correctly the first time. A family law attorney can also help you effectively prove paternity, which is crucial in any case involving a child’s birth certificate. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you in court as needed.

Save Time and Money - Speak With a Lawyer Right Away

  • Buy one 30-minute consultation call or subscribe for unlimited calls
  • Subscription includes access to unlimited consultation calls at a reduced price
  • Receive quick expert feedback or review your DIY legal documents
  • Have peace of mind without a long wait or industry standard retainer
  • Get the right guidance - Schedule a call with a lawyer today!

16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer