Amendments to Birth Certificates

North Carolina, like most other states, issues a birth certificate for every child born. In addition to providing certain vital information such as place of birth, time of birth, date of birth, height, and weight, birth certificates also identify the child’s legally given name and the child’s parents.

Given the prevalence of children born out of wedlock, it is not uncommon for a child’s birth certificate to only list one parent at the time of birth. If only one parent is listed on a child’s birth certificate, North Carolina law provides a method to amend that crucial document to identify both biological parents. North Carolina General Statute § 130A-118 outlines the following regarding situations in which a birth certificate may be amended to add a parent:

(b) A new certificate of birth shall be made by the State Registrar when:

(1) Proof is submitted to the State Registrar that the previously unwed parents of a person have intermarried subsequent to the birth of the person;

(2) Notification is received by the State Registrar from the clerk of a court of competent jurisdiction of a judgment, order or decree disclosing different or additional
information relating to the parentage of a person;

(3) Satisfactory proof is submitted to the State Registrar that there has been entered in a court of competent jurisdiction a judgment, order or decree disclosing different or
additional information relating to the parentage of a person; or

(4) A written request from an individual is received by the State Registrar to change the sex on that individual’s birth record because of sex reassignment surgery, if the request
is accompanied by a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the
individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery.

Under this Section, either parent may petition to be added to a child’s birth certificate if they marry after the birth of the child. A person not listed on a birth certificate may also petition the court to be added to a birth certificate as a child’s biological parent with a court order designating them as a biological parent. This section further provides that a person’s sex on his/her birth certificate may be changed following reassignment surgery.

North Carolina law also provides in § 130A-118 that the child’s surname, i.e., “last name”, may be changed on a birth certificate if either: (a) the child is legitimized by subsequent marriage of the mother and father; or, (b) the child is legitimized through other legal means and the parents agree to change the child’s surname.

There are other instances when may be appropriate to amend a child’s birth certificate. Under North Carolina statute § 49-12.1, the spouse of a married mother who gives birth is the presumptive father of that child. If the biological father is someone other than the married mother’s husband, a new birth certificate identifying the correct biological father can be issued following proper legitimization and court order identifying the correct biological father.

Having the correct information listed on your child’s birth certificate is important not just for the child, but also for parents when dealing with various government and non-government entities. To ensure your child’s birth certificate is accurate or to speak with someone today about making changes to their birth certificate, please call us at (704) 810-1400.

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