Naming the Father on the Birth Certificate

A few legal tips to consider when deciding whether to name the father on the birth certificate.

If you are a single parent — whether the mother or the father — there are a few considerations to keep in mind before naming the father on the child’s state-issued birth certificate.

The Father’s Consent Is Necessary to Include His Name on the Birth Certificate

Including the name of parents on a birth certificate is a legal matter that requires the father’s participation. If a mother does not know who the father is, cannot find the father or the father simply does not want to be on the birth certificate, he will not be forced to do so.

This is true even if the mother listed a father’s name on the birth certificate application. For a father’s name to appear on the actual birth certificate itself, he will need to provide his signature on a legal Acknowledgment of Paternity form.

Benefits of Listing the Father’s Name on a Florida Birth Certificate

The bulk of the benefits made possible by naming the father are enjoyed by the child. If the child’s father is listed on their birth certificate, that child will be legally entitled to the following benefits:

  • Child support

  • Health insurance coverage

  • Social Security and other death benefits if the father passes away

One common misconception of listing a father on the birth certificate is that doing so enables the father to receive preferential treatment in custody or visitation issues. This is untrue. The child’s father is allowed to formally request visitation and/or custody at any time, regardless of whether or not they are listed on the birth certificate.

It is also worth noting that mothers who receive federal or state assistance should strongly consider naming the father. Applying for benefits such as Section 8 Housing or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families requires a mother to name the child’s father. This helps the state pursue the collection of child support payments.

Potential Drawbacks to Naming the Father

While a child and the mother can benefit from naming a child’s father, there are some downsides to consider. If you name the father and cannot locate them at a later date, this can lead to complications. One such complication is if you want your child to have a passport issued to them. If the father named on the certificate cannot be located, you will need to go to court to get your child the passport.

Similarly, registering a child for school could require a court order if a named father cannot be located.

Legal Requirements for Naming the Father

If you weigh these pros and cons before ultimately deciding to name the father on the birth certificate, there are a couple of steps that must be taken. First, both the mother and father must sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. Second, the signing of this form must be witnessed and signed by two uninterested parties.

If you have questions regarding paternal rights, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at contact@themckinneylawgroup.com

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