Acknowledging Paternity

Acknowledging Paternity

126922412 | Marie C Fields |

Should I Name the Father on the Birth Certificate?

  • You are not obligated to include the father in the birth certificate.
  • There are advantages and disadvantages to establishing paternity.
  • Naming the father does not always give him paternal rights or obligations.

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When Do I Need to Consider Whether to Add the Father’s Name?

Whether to include the father’s name on the birth certificate only becomes a consideration if you are single. If you are married, your spouse is recognized by law as the father, even if he is not the biological father of your baby. This can be contested in court.

For more information, go to Who is the Father?

  • Adding the father’s name to the birth certificate makes sense if you desire the father to be known and to take responsibility.
  • Leaving his name off the birth certificate may be a way of protecting yourself and the child from his influence.

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Do I Have to Include the Father on the Birth Certificate?

Adding the father’s name to the birth certificate is not required in any English-speaking country.

  • The mother’s consent is always necessary for the unmarried father to be included in the initial registration of birth.
  • Although the woman is permitted to make this initial choice, paternity testing is mandatory when applying for child benefits in the USA.
  • Mothers in New Zealand do not need to apply for paternity in order to receive benefits.

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Can He Be Included Against His Will?

Including the father on the birth certificate against his will is not possible when filling out the initial registration of birth.

  • His name would only be recorded if he signed the birth registration form or another official document stating his acknowledgement of paternity.
  • He can be added later, even against his will, if a court order declared him the father.

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Can He Be Registered as the Father Against My Will?

Initially, his name cannot be recorded on the birth certificate against your will, but it is possible for the father’s name to be added to the birth certificate later if he receives a declaration of paternity in court. This usually involves DNA testing. The birth certificate is then amended to reflect this change.

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Ways of Establishing Paternity

Do you both desire his name to appear on the birth certificate?

  • The simplest way is to establish paternity directly at birth, where the parents agree to include the father’s name on the birth certificate.
  • Paternity can be established in retrospect. The birth certificate would be amended to include the father.

This is how it is done in your country:

  • A Statutory Declaration can be made by both parents at the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, declaring that the father is the child’s parent.

  • The father can file an Affidavit of Paternity, which is then signed by the mother.

  • Both parents need to go to the registrar’s office together. If only one parent goes, he/she will have to bring a document, signed by the absent partner, called a Declaration.

    Only when the mother is not in agreement does he need to make an Application for a Declaration of Parentage (Form C63). The court will then decide who the father is and give him a Declaration of Parentage, which will automatically be presented at the General Register Office. Here, the father will be added to the birth certificate. A copy can be acquired by usual means.

  • The father can acknowledge paternity by a Statutory Declaration, which is then signed by the mother.

  • The father can apply for a Declaration of Paternity. No court proceedings are necessary if the parents are in agreement.

  • An application can be made to the Director-General of Home Affairs for the insertion of the natural father’s information in the birth register of the child.

    The Population Register is then updated when the mother’s consent is given.

  • The father’s name can be added to the baby’s birth certificate at any point in time if he signs the AOP (Acknowledgement of Paternity).

His Rights and Obligations When Paternity Is Established:

Adding the father’s name to the birth certificate gives him varying degrees of rights and obligations, depending on the country in which you live.

Here are the details for your country:

  • The father is presumed to have equal and shared responsibility for the child. He can apply for a parenting order in court if this is not settled with the mother outside the court.

  • Once paternity is established, the father has legal rights to the child. Custody can either be decided by both parents or handled in court.

    When his name is on the birth certificate, he is obligated to pay financial support.

  • Once the father is named on the birth certificate, he is required to pay child support.

    He is considered a guardian of the child and is entitled to contact, as well as has a say regarding the child’s care.

  • Even though a father's name may be registered on the child's birth certificate, this does not give him any guardianship rights in respect of his child. The father would only have rights of custody if he had been living with the mother for at least 12 consecutive months, including at least 3 months after the birth.

    A separate application for joint guardianship must be filed at the District Court.

  • With the establishment of paternity, the father has full paternal rights and responsibilities.

  • The Declaration of Parentage does not automatically give the father equal rights to the mother.

    It gives him the right to have a say in certain legal decisions regarding the child. Additionally, the father can now apply for custody, visitation, and child support.

    In order to spend time with the child, he must either enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother or make a Parental Responsibility Order application in court.

  • After the father has signed the Acknowledgement of Paternity, he has certain rights:

    The right to be responsible for child support, the right to use his last name on the birth certificate, and the right to be consulted in case of an adoption hearing.

    Child custody and visitation rights are requested separately and are not affected by whether his name is included in the birth certificate.

Pros to Naming the Father

There are many advantages to including the father on the birth certificate. We have compiled a list for your consideration:

  • Official establishment of the relationship between father and child
  • Important for the sense of identity of the child
  • Improved relationship between the two parents
  • Legal proof of each parent’s identity
  • Likelihood of financial support from both parents
  • Possibility of enrolling on the father’s health insurance plan
  • Continuation of child support after the father’s death
  • A full medical history (in case of an inherited health condition)

Cons to Naming the Father

Naming the father on the birth certificate can have negative effects as well. We understand that you may be anxious about the father’s continued presence in your life and that of the baby. Here are cons for you to consider:

  • Officially linking the child to the father if he is not a good influence.
  • He could assert custody or visitation rights, even if you do not want him to be involved in the child’s life.
  • Key decisions would have to be made in accordance with the father, such as healthcare treatments, enrollment in extracurricular activities, or relocating to a different city, state, or country.
  • International travel could be hindered by the father.
  • Infidelity – Making the biological father’s identity known could cause upheaval for your marriage or the father’s marriage.

Pregnant in a Complicated Relationship

Perhaps you have stumbled across our page because you are caught up in a difficult situation and unsure of where to go from here. Your pregnancy may have been unintended, and your relationship is complicated. Or perhaps you do not want anyone to know who the father is.

So many thoughts may be running through your head making it hard to think straight. Take a deep breath. You are not alone! Our judgement-free resources were compiled with you in mind. Our goal is to strengthen you for the journey to come, allowing you to gain clarity and find the path that matches your past experiences as well as your future needs.

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While we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information possible, profemina makes no guarantees as to the accuracy of the content of this article. For more specific legal counsel, please contact a lawyer.


Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Form: Very Well Family (Dec. 15, 2021)
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: Legal Match (Dec. 15, 2021)

UK / Northern Ireland
Birth Certificates and Changing your Name: Citizens Advice Scotland (Dec 16, 2021)
Can a Father Put Himself on a Birth Certificate?: Kabir Family Law (Dec. 16, 2021)
Declaration of Parentage: Direct Mediation Services (Dec. 16, 2021)
How to Establish Paternity Rights: Cordell Family Law Solicitors (Dec. 16, 2021)
Adding Father’s Name on Birth Certificate: The UK Rules (Dec 16, 2021)
Statutory Declaration of Acknowledgement of Parentage Form: Gov.UK, (Dec. 16, 2021)
Northern Ireland Form: Declaration of Acknowledgement of Paternity for the Registration of a Birth: NI Direct Government Services (Dec. 16, 2021)

Add or Remove a Parent on a Birth Certificate, Births, Deaths and Marriages: Victoria (Dec. 16, 2021)
Registration of the Birth of a Child: Caxton Legal Centre (Dec. 16, 2021)
Father’s Rights after Separation: Justice Family Lawyers (Dec. 16, 2021)
Father’s Rights in Australia: How to get more time with your child post separation: Australian Family Lawyers (Dec. 16, 2021)
What is a Parenting Order, Legal Services Commission South Australia (Dec. 16, 2021)

What happens if the father’s name is not on the birth certificate?: O Flaherty Law (Dec. 16, 2021)
Acknowledgement and Declaration of Paternity in Saskatchewan: OAS (Dec 16, 2021)

South Africa
South Africa, Right of Unmarried Natural Fathers to be Recognized on Birth Certificates: Mondaq (Dec 16, 2021)
Form: Application for the Insertion of the Natural Father’s Particulars on the Birth Register of Child: South African Missions in New York (Dec. 16, 2021)
The Office of the Family Advocate: The DOJ&CD (Dec. 16, 2021)
Amendments in ID Books and Birth Certificates, Department of Home Affairs (Dec 16, 2021)

Paternity and Declaration of Parentage: An tSeirbhis Chuirteanna Courts Service (Dec. 16, 2021)
How to Obtain a Declaration of Parentage: Family Law Ireland (Dec. 16, 2021)
Legal Guardianship and Cohabiting Couples: Citizens Information (Dec. 16, 2021)

New Zealand
Declaration of Paternity: Community Law (Dec. 16, 2021)
Paternity: Birthright (Dec. 16, 2021)
What would be the implications of not naming my baby’s father on the birth certificate, since we aren’t together: Citizens Advice Bureau, (Dec. 16, 2021)

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