Can you change the father on a Massachusetts birth certificate?

Anyone who has attempted to go through the legal system on their own knows that the process is oftentimes quite difficult. That’s because most people only have a basic understanding of the law, which rarely prepares them for the complexities of the law and the process ahead. That’s why it’s typically considered a good idea to obtain representation before handling most legal matters.

One such legal matter that may require the help of a skilled lawyer involves establishing paternity. As some of our more frequent readers know from last week’s post, establishing paternity is incredibly important here in Massachusetts because it affords the child’s biological father rights to custody and visitation. It also establishes a legal link to enforce child support if the child’s parents are not married or living together.

In this week’s post, we’d like to expand on the topic of paternity by answering the question above: can you change the father on a Massachusetts birth certificate?

If you are asking this question, you’re not alone. There are a number of circumstances that could lead a person to this question such as not knowing who the father is at birth, being married to a man who was not the biological father, or discovering later on that the father listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father after all. If you have a similar circumstance, then you should know that you can change the name of a father on a child’s birth certificate.

Thanks to legal measures implemented by the state of Massachusetts, families in our state can change the name of a father on a birth certificate by first establishing paternity and then notifying your town or city clerk’s office. Because paternity can be established at any time, changing a child’s name on a birth certificate can also occur at anytime afterwards.

But because this process can be overwhelming, especially if you are not familiar with the legal system, it may be necessary to get help from an attorney knowledgeable in child custody issues prior to starting the process.

Source: The Massachusetts Department of Revenue, “Frequently Asked Questions,’ Accessed Feb. 17, 2015