If discover an error in your mother's name on your birth certificate, or if you have an adult child and realize that your own name appears on the document incorrectly, you may be able to correct by writing to the department of vital records. Generally, you will be able to have simple errors, such as misspellings, corrected upon request. If the error is more complex---for example, if the mother legally changed her first name---then you may need to get the family court to assist you.
Compile evidence to back up the name change. Examples of acceptable documents may include the mother's birth certificate, her Social Security card, a copy of her passport or an adoption decree. Generally, you will need to supply original documents or certified copies.
Request the proper forms from the vital records department. Since each state makes its own rules for modifying a birth certificate, you will need to talk to the health department or vital records division for the state that issued the original birth certificate. These forms may ask for the full names of both parents, the full name of the adult child at birth, and each party's date of birth. You will also need to attest that the information you supplying is correct and that you are not modifying the mother's name for fraudulent purposes.
Determine whether you need the court to modify the birth certificate. If the mother's name is incorrect for reasons other than clerical or typographical error or if the vital records department denies your request, you will need court order to change a mother's name on an adult's birth certificate. If the mother on the birth certificate adopted the child, file the petition in the court that finalized the case. If the error is in the biological mother's name, petition the court in the county that issued the original birth certificate.
Draft a petition to modify the birth certificate. The petition should outline basic information about the mother and the child, and a detailed explanation of why you are requesting the name change. Once you have prepared your petition, file it with the clerk of the court.
Attend your court hearing and supply evidence to back up your request. Once the court receives your petition, it will assign you a hearing date. At your hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence in front of a judge, including testimony from witnesses.
Use the court order to request a new birth certificate. After the family court judge has heard your case and approved the proposed change to the mother's name, you will receive a certified copy of the court order. You can use this document to request a new birth certificate that lists the mother's new or corrected name.
- If you don't understand any part o fthe legal proceeding, contact an attorney, legal aid or clerk of the court.
- Before petitioning the court, research the rules and procedures for your jurisdiction, as they vary between states.
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