A Note on Fatherhood – Are You On Your Child’s Birth Certificate?

A recent Centers For Disease Control & Prevention report documents the rising number of out-of-wedlock births.  From 2006-2010, 45% of women age 15-44 who had children were unmarried, either not living with, or living with but not married to the father.  The number of women living with but not married to the father of their first-born child tripled in the last 10 years.  One can rebut the presumption of paternity for men married to a child’s mother.  These facts complicate the process of listing fathers on birth certificates.

The Oklahoma Uniform Parentage Act lists the methods you can use to assure your listing as father of record on your child’s birth certificate.  Unless you qualify for listing as the child’s father under one of the definitions below, you are just an “alleged father.”  You or the mother may claim you are the father, but your parentage has not been determined.  Make sure you meet one of the following definitions, and that the paperwork is complete to include your name on your child’s birth certificate.

Presumed Father – A presumed father of a child is married to the child’s mother.  The child may also be born within 300 days after your marriage to the child’s mother ends.  You are also a presumed father if you declare as a matter of record the child as yours, and marry the mother after the child is born.  Even if you do not marry the mother, you are a presumed father if you live in the same household as the child, and hold the child out as your own for the first two (2) years of the child’s life.

Acknowledged Father – If the mother is willing to cooperate, you can send a completed Acknowledgment of Paternity form to the Oklahoma Department of Health Vital Records Service (VRS). After the VRS accepts the form, it will amend the birth certificate to list you as the father. You can get the form online here, from the VRS, your county health department, the Office of Child Support Services, or from any hospital with a maternity ward.

Adjudicated Father – If the mother does not wish to cooperate, you can file a Petition with the district court to determine parentage. If the mother admits your paternity or a DNA test determines paternity, you can get a court order declaring you the father. You can then use the court order to amend the birth certificate.

by David Tracy