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What should I know about changing a birth certificate?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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Changing a birth certificate in Georgia Resources

Changing a birth certificate in Georgia

What should I know? +

Contents


What are reasons to change a birth certificate?

There are several reasons why you might need to make a change to a birth certificate. It is important to think about the change you want to make and the reason. There are different forms and procedures for each kind of change. You might need to change a birth certificate because:

 

  • There was a minor error. There might be a spelling mistake or a wrong birth date on your birth certificate or your child’s birth certificate,
  • You are over 18 and you want to change your name, or you want to change the name of a minor,
  • You want to add the father’s name to the birth certificate,
  • You want to remove the name of the father listed on the birth certificate

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What are my rights and responsibilities if there is a mistake on my child’s birth certificate?

If you discover mistakes, you have the right to get those errors corrected. You may be able to correct minor errors by asking the Georgia Department of Vital records to amend the birth certificate without a court order. If the Vital Records office will not make the correction, then you must file a Petition to Correct an Error on a Birth Certificate with the Superior Court. 

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What are my rights and responsibilities if I want to change my name or the name of a minor?

You have the right to petition the court to legally change your name or the name of your child. If you are getting married or divorced, you can change your last name as part of the proceedings. Otherwise, you will need to petition the court to get the name change approved.

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What are my rights and responsibilities if I want to add or remove a child’s father’s name to the birth certificate?

 

If you were not married when your child was born, you have the right to add the father’s name to the birth certificate. If both parents agree, and the mother was not married to another person when the baby was born, you can add the name either:

  • Through a Paternity Acknowledgment form or

  • An Application for an Amended Certificate of Birth by Legitimation. 

  • Otherwise, you must file a paternity action.

 

You must file a paternity action if:

  • you are a mother or father who wants to have a court decide who is the child’s father, or 

  • you want to remove the name of the father listed on the birth certificate you must file a paternity action. 

 

If you get a court order, you are responsible for filing that court order with the office of Vital Records to amend the birth certificate.

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What can I do? +

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What can I do if there is a mistake on a birth certificate?

You may be able to correct minor errors by asking the Georgia Department of Vital records to amend the birth certificate without a court order. To do this, you should:

 

  1. Get a certified copy of the birth certificate from the Georgia Vital Records office. 

  2. Circle all the changes you wish to make, 

  3. Submit a written request asking for further instructions or procedures. 

  4. Mail the request to: Legal Unit, Vital Records, 2600 Skyland Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30319. 

 

If the Vital Records office will not make the correction without a court order, then you can file a Petition to Correct an Error on a Birth Certificate with the Superior Court. Visit the DeKalb County Family Law Information Center website for detailed instructions on filing this petition in Georgia.

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What can I do if I want to change my name or the name of my child?

In Georgia, you must go through the courts to change your name or the name of your child. Unless it is part of a marriage or divorce proceeding, you will need to:

 

  • File a petition in your county's superior court;

  • Verify the petition in a signed document;

  • State the reasons for the proposed name change;

  • Publish notice in your local newspaper once a week for four weeks; 

    • If you wish to change your child’s name and both parents agree, you do not need to publish notice, you just need both parents’ written consent.

    • If the other parent is not around or does not agree, then you need to 

      • inform the other parent by certified mail or 

      • publish notice of the proposed name change in the newspaper where the other parent lives.

  • Schedule and attend a court hearing to decide the issue.

  • Take your court order to the office of Vital Records.

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What can I do if I want to add the father’s name to my child’s birth certificate?

If you are the natural parents of a child born out of wedlock in Georgia, and you have now married each other and want to change the child’s birth certificate to show the father and change the child’s name, you do not have to file a court action. Instead, you may file a simple form with the Georgia Department of Vital Records. The form is called Application for an Amended Certificate of Birth by Legitimation and is available from the Vital Records office.

 

If you are the natural parents of a child born out of wedlock in Georgia, and you both want the name of the father added on the birth certificate, you may not need a court order. Instead, you may be able to add the father’s name by: 

  • completing a Paternity Acknowledgment at the hospital where the child is born, or 

  • Later, at either the State Office of Vital Records in Atlanta or The Vital Records Office in the county where the child was born. 

 

The Paternity Acknowledgment can be completed if both the mother and father agree, and if the mother was not married at the time of conception, birth, or any time in between. (The father should also register with the Putative Father Registry. You can get the registration form for that from the county Vital Records Office).

 

A Paternity Acknowledgment cannot be completed if the mother was married to another person when the child was born or conceived. In these situations, you must file a legitimation action in court.

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What can I do to remove the name of the father listed on the birth certificate?

To remove the name of the father listed on the birth certificate, you will need a court order telling the office of Vital Records to amend the birth certificate. The court order must specifically state:

  • The name to be removed from the birth certificate, and

  • The name to be entered as the father on the birth certificate.

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Resources

Last Review and Update: Nov 05, 2019