Before a father is added to a birth certificate in California, paternity must be established, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Paternity can be established voluntarily by completion and submission of the Acknowledgment of Paternity form. Paternity can also be established for unwilling fathers by court order through the Superior Court of California. After a father is added, the original birth certificate is sealed and a new record is issued.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
Complete the Acknowledgment of Paternity form VS22. This form can be ordered electronically from the state's website, by calling 916-445-2684 or through your county recorder or county health department. You must provide information on the current birth certificate to complete this form.
Other Documents Needed for Voluntary Acknowledgement
A photocopy of the current birth certificate is requested to assist in locating the record, but it's not required. You must provide the father's full name, date of birth and state of birth. The form must be signed by both parents and indicate their relationship status: unmarried, married or domestic partners.
Provide documentation of your relationship status. Married individuals must provide a photocopy of their marriage certificate. Individuals who are registered as domestic partners must attach their state registered domestic partnership declaration. Unmarried parents need to provide the declaration of paternity form filed with the Department of Child Support Services.
Complete the Notarized Sworn Statement. You must declare under penalty of perjury that you are authorized under California law to make amendments to the birth certificate. This form is available on their website or by mail.
Submitting the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
Submit form VS22, a copy of the birth certificate, the notarized sworn statement, documentation of relationship status and the fee to: California Office of Vital Records M.S. 5103 P.O. Box 997410 Sacramento, CA 95899-7410. Call ahead to find out the current fee, and take a check or money order payable to the Office of Vital Records.
The California Department of Health will mail a postcard of acceptance when your application is received. Rejected requests will include a letter advising of the reason for rejection and what you can do to resolve it. You'll receive a certified copy of the amended birth certificate when your application is complete.
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A Court Order Establishing Paternity
If the father won't voluntarily acknowledge paternity, you'll have to take him to court. You must receive a court order of adjudication through the Superior Court in order to add him to the child's birth certificate. The California Courts website contains information on the steps needed to establish paternity this way.
Amend the Birth Certificate
Complete the Application to Amend a Birth Record-Adjudication of Facts of Parentage form (VS21). You must provide information to locate the current record: name, date of birth, place of birth, city of birth and parental information for the child. The Vital Records office requests that a copy of the existing birth certificate be attached to your application to assist with locating the record. You must provide the new information regarding the father, including his full name, date of birth and state of birth.
Submit the application, certified court order, a copy of existing birth record and the fee to: California Office of Vital Records M.S. 5103 P.O. Box 997410 Sacramento, CA 95899-7410.
You will receive a postcard of acknowledgement in the mail. Rejected requests contain a letter advising of the reason for rejection and the methods you can use to resolve it. You will receive a certified copy of the amended birth certificate when your application is complete.
This article was written by Legal Beagle staff. If you have any questions, please reach out to us on our contact us page.