When a child’s birth certificate does not show the father’s name and gives the child a family name which is the maiden name of his/her mother, the parents may wish to correct the birth certificate to show the father’s name and change the child’s family name to that of the child’s father. The parents may accomplish this by executing a Paternity Affidavit.
The legal authority for correcting a birth certificate is A.S.C.A. §13.0530(a):
Whenever the facts are not correctly stated in any certificate of birth, death, or marriage already registered, the person asserting the error may make an affidavit under oath stating the changes necessary to make the record correct, supported by the affidavit of one other person having knowledge of the facts, and file it with the Registrar.
The statute requires two affidavits, but the better practice is to combine the two affidavits into one and execute a Joint Paternity Affidavit. In other words, instead of the father executing a Paternity Affidavit and the mother executing a Paternity Affidavit to support the father’s Paternity Affidavit, both parents execute a single affidavit in which each of them confirms that they are the parents of the child. After all, who has better “knowledge of the facts” than the parents?
In cases where the father and mother continue their romantic relationship long after the child is born, they may wish to establish a firmer basis for correcting the child’s birth certificate by getting married and then executing a Joint Paternity Affidavit. This is because a child born to unmarried parents is “illegitimate”. Under our law, a child becomes “legitimate” when his/her parents get married. If they then execute a Joint Paternity Affidavit, a corrected birth certificate will be issued naming the father and changing the child’s family name to that of his/her father.
The legal authority for doing this is A.S.C.A. §42.0501:
(a) An illegitimate child shall become legitimate upon the subsequent marriage of his parents.
(b) Any birth certificate previously issued may be reissued with the correct information on it.