Paternity: Frequently Asked Questions

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Paternity: Frequently Asked Questions

For legal questions about Texas vital records, please consult an attorney. Click here for information about paternity on the Texas Attorney General's website.

Please note that because each situation is different, every application must be reviewed by a specialist to determine whether it is acceptable. If the application is determined to not be acceptable, you will be contacted with additional instructions, which will increase the processing time.

  1. How do I add the father's name and information to a birth certificate?
  2. How do I change the father's name and information on a birth certificate when there is already a father listed on it?
  3. How do I remove the father's name and information from a birth certificate?
  4. Can the mother's information be removed from a birth certificate?
  5. Does a court order terminating the parental rights allow information to be removed from a birth certificate?
  6. What is a "gestational agreement"?
  7. Can the intended parents' names on the birth certificate be changed using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?
  8. Will my certified copy of a court order be returned to me by the state?
  9. What if one of the parents is deceased?
  10. Can the name of a stepfather be added to a birth certificate using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?
  11. What about changing the child's last name?
  12. What is the fee for filing a new birth certificate based on parentage?
  13. How do I file a new birth certificate based on parentage?
  14. I need to change my last name (or my child's last name) on the birth certificate to that of the biological father. What do I need to know before I can do that?
  15. I need to add the father's name and information to my child's birth certificate. Or, I need to change the father's information on it to someone else's information. What do I need to do?
  16. I need to remove my name as the father from a child's birth certificate. What do I need to do?
  17. Where can I get a copy of the court order that I need to send in with my application?
  18. How do I get a court order allowing a change on a birth certificate to remove the father's name, add the father's name, or change the name of the father?
  19. There is no father listed on my child's birth certificate because I wasn't married to anyone when my child was born. Can I file a paternity claim to have my current husband listed as the father? He is willing to accept responsibility for my child.
  20. I need an Acknowledgement of Paternity form sent to me. Where can I get that form?
  21. I was told that I need an "entity code." How do I get one?
  22. I need a copy of the Acknowledgement of Paternity form that was filed for my child. How can I get one sent to me?
  23. I need to find out if a man has filed a paternity claim (Intent to Claim Paternity) for a child. How would I find that information? The child is being adopted, and I have to have that search made before the adoption can proceed.

 


1. How do I add the father's name and information to a birth certificate?

This is the most common change made using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage. If the father's information had been left blank on the birth certificate, these items can be added to the birth certificate by submitting the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage form, signed by both parents in the presence of a notary public, and one of the following documents:

  • Certified copy of a marriage license between the mother and the biological father that occurs after the birth of the child.
  • Properly completed State of Texas Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VS-159.1)
  • Certified copy of a court decree establishing parentage between the child and the biological father

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2. How do I change the father's name and information on a birth certificate when there is already a father listed on it?

The father's name and information on the existing birth certificate can by changed with:

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3. How do I remove the father's name and information from a birth certificate?
This requires a certified copy of a court order indicating that:

  • The man currently listed as the father on the birth certificate is not the biological father, or
  • The father's rights have been terminated, and his name is to be removed from the birth certificate. In this case, the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage can be signed in the presence of a notary public by either the mother or by the man whose name is being removed from the birth certificate.

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4. Can the mother's information be removed from a birth certificate?
Yes. The mother's birth information can be removed using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage if a court order was granted that terminates the mother's rights and specifically states that her information is to be removed from the birth certificate.

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5. Does a court order terminating the parental rights allow information to be removed from a birth certificate?

Information can be removed only if the court order has stated that the father listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father or if it specifically states that a person's name and information are to be removed from the birth record.

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6. What is a "gestational agreement"?

A gestational agreement is an agreement under which a woman agrees to bear the child of a married couple. The child being carried by its "gestational mother" does not share any of her genetic material. The baby's genetic parents are usually referred to as the "intended parents."

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7. Can the intended parents' names on the birth certificate be changed using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?
Yes. This change requires a certified copy of a court order. Based on a gestational agreement, the court may order the birth certificate of a child born to a gestational mother be changed to show the genetic parents' names and information.

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8. Will my certified copy of a court order be returned to me by the state?
No. Evidence used to establish parentage is not returned; it is retained as part of the official, permanent record.

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9. What if one of the parents is deceased?

If one of the parents is deceased, a court order indicating true and correct parentage is needed to add a parent's name and information to the birth certificate.

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10. Can the name of a stepfather be added to a birth certificate using the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage?

No. The Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage cannot be used to add a stepfather to the birth certificate. This form can only be used when adding the biological father to the birth certificate.

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11. What about changing the child's last name?


The child's last name can be changed to the father's last name if both parents are in agreement and they both sign the Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage in the presence of a notary public. However, if a court order already addresses a name change for the child, the child's name must be changed to what the court has ordered it to be.

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12. What is the fee for filing a new birth certificate based on parentage?
The fee for processing a new birth certificate based on parentage is $25. This does not include a certified copy of the birth certificate. To receive a certified copy of the new birth certificate, an additional $22 should be included with the processing fee, for a total of $47.

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13. How do I file a new birth certificate based on parentage?
See the Amend Parentage page for instructions.

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14. I need to change my last name (or my child's last name) on the birth certificate to that of the biological father. What do I need to know before I can do that?
Do you also want to add the father's name and information? If you do, then you need to file a new birth certificate based on paternity. Two documents are needed:

You must also submit one of the following documents with the application:

  • If paternity has been established through a court order, please send in a certified copy of the entire court order.
  • If paternity has not been established through the court, and the biological parents are now married to each other, please send in a certified copy of the marriage license.
  • If the parents are not married to each other, an Acknowledgement of Paternity form (VS-159.1) must be completed.

There is a fee of $25 to file the new birth certificate and an additional fee of $22 for a certified copy of the new birth certificate once it has been filed.

Are you changing your last name or your child’s last name to that of the biological father? If the answer is no, then you need a certified copy of a court-ordered name change. Once a person is older than 1 year, changing that person's last name requires a court order. Please submit the certified copy of the entire court order legally changing the name of the registrant. There is a fee of $15 to file the legal name-change amendment and an additional fee of $22 for a certified copy of the birth certificate once the change has been filed.

A specialist trained in parentage issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.

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15. I need to add the father's name and information to my child's birth certificate. Or, I need to change the father's information on it to someone else's information. What do I need to do?

Two documents are needed:

 

  • The biological mother and father must complete and sign an Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage in front of a notary public. If you have gone to court to establish paternity, only one parent needs to sign the form in front of the notary public.
  • You must submit one of the following documents with the application:

    • If paternity has been established through a court order, please send in a certified copy of the entire court order.
    • If paternity has not been established through the court, and the biological parents are now married to each other and the mother was not married to someone else at the time of the child's birth, please send in a certified copy of the marriage license.
    • If the parents are not married to each other, an Acknowledgement of Paternity form must be completed. If the mother was married to someone else at the time of the child's birth, the mother's husband at the time of the child's birth must sign the denial portion of the Acknowledgement of Paternity. For information on obtaining an Acknowledgment of Paternity form, please go to Question 20, I need an Acknowledgement of Paternity form sent to me. Where can I get that form? on this page.

    There is a fee of $25 to file the new birth certificate and an additional fee of $22 for a certified copy of the new birth certificate, once it has been filed.

    A specialist trained in parentage issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.

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    16. I need to remove my name as the father from a child's birth certificate. What do I need to do?

    Two documents are needed:

     

  • Either the biological mother or the man currently listed as the father on the birth certificate must complete and sign an Application for a New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage in front of the notary public. Where the application asks for father's information, you will write "Removing Father."
  • The second document must be a certified copy of a court order that states that the man currently listed as the father on the birth certificate is not the biological father, or that the father's rights have been terminated and that his information is to be removed from the birth certificate.  Please Note: Terminating parental rights will not remove the father's information from the birth certificate unless the court order specifically states that the father's information is to be removed.
  • The man having his name removed from the birth certificate may not change the child's name unless the court order states that the child's name is to be changed.

    There is a fee of $25 to file the new birth certificate. The man having his name removed is no longer a qualified applicant and is not entitled to a copy of the new birth certificate.

    A specialist trained in parentage issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.

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    17. Where can I get a copy of the court order that I need to send in with my application?

    You can obtain a certified copy of an existing court order from the district clerk's office in the county where the court action took place.

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    18. How do I get a court order allowing a change on a birth certificate to remove the father's name, add the father's name, or change the name of the father?

    Our office cannot provide you with legal advice. You must contact an attorney for information on the steps and procedures for petitioning a court to establish or remove paternity.

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    19. There is no father listed on my child's birth certificate because I wasn't married to anyone when my child was born. Can I file a paternity claim to have my current husband listed as the father? He is willing to accpet responsiblity for my child.

     

    No, only the biological father of the child can be added to a birth certificate by using the paternity rules and procedures. The only legal way a stepfather can have his name added to the birth certificate as the father is for him to legally adopt the child. You must consult an attorney to learn about the procedures for adoption.

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    20. I need an Acknowledgement of Paternity form sent to me. Where can I get that form?

    Texas Vital Statistics cannot send out Acknowledgement of Paternity forms to applicants. Instead, the forms can only be obtained from someone certified by the Attorney's General Office to verbally explain to all the parties the rights and responsibilities that come with signing the form.

    Please call the Paternity Opportunity Program to find such a person or "entity," who is located nearest you, or to learn about your options if you do not live in Texas. The program's telephone number is 1-866-255-2006. Please listen to all the options carefully. You must complete the most current Acknowledgement of Paternity form, and all forms must have a valid entity code before they can be accepted. The person who is certified to explain your rights and responsibilities is a "certified entity." The certified entity will provide the entity code once he or she has explained the rights and responsibilities to all parties. There is no other way to obtain the form except from a certified entity.

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    21. I was told that I need an "entity code." How do I get one?

    Only someone who has been certified to verbally explain the parental rights and responsibilities that come with signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form can provide you with an entity code.

    Please call the Paternity Opportunity Program to find such a person or "entity," who is located nearest you, or to learn about your options if you do not live in Texas. The program's telephone number is 1-866-255-2006. Please listen to all the options carefully. You must complete the most current Acknowledgement of Paternity form, and all forms must have a valid entity code before they can be accepted. The person who is certified to explain your rights and responsibilities is a "certified entity." The certified entity will provide the entity code once he or she has explained the rights and responsibilities to the parents. There is no other way to obtain the form except from a certified entity.

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    22. I need a copy of the Acknowledgement of Paternity form that was filed for my child. How can I get one sent to me?

    Parents or their legal representative can request a certified copy of the Acknowledgement of Paternity form from the Acknowledgement of Paternity Registry for a fee of $10. See the Forms page to download a copy of the Acknowledgement of Paternity Inquiry Request form (VS134.1).

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    23. I need to find out if a man has filed a paternity claim (Intent to Claim Paternity) for a child. How would I find that information?

    The child is being adopted, and I have to have that search made before the adoption can proceed. You can request a search of the paternity registry for a fee of $10. See the Forms page to download a copy of the Paternity Registry Inquiry Request form (VS134).

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    Last updated November 13, 2014