If a father’s name does not appear on his child’s birth certificate, his paternity must be proven before the name can be added.

A father’s paternity can be established by the following:

  • If the child was born of the mother and father’s marriage,
  • If the parents are unmarried and they sign a paternity affidavit, or
  • A court establishes paternity. It is unlikely that a father’s name would be omitted from a birth certificate if a child is born of the marriage. If a child is not born of a marriage and the parents do not sign a paternity affidavit, a Petition to Establish Paternity must be filed with a court.

Birth certificates are not automatically amended when a court establishes paternity, however. Establishing paternity gives a child a legal father who is then bestowed rights and obligations relating to the care of his child.

Birth certificates are created and managed by the Indiana State Department of Health. This department does not review paternity actions on its own. Rather, either the mother or the father can take a copy of the order establishing paternity to the Department of Health so that the child’s original birth certificate can be amended. Likewise, the paternity affidavit can serve as proof of paternity.

If someone believes a child’s paternity needs to be established or that the birth certificate contains errors, they should seek a qualified attorney to help them understand the complexities and issues involved.