It is common to hear people offer advice to fathers to ensure their names are on the birth certificate or to warm mothers to not put a man’s name on the birth certificate because it will give the father rights. For LGBTQ couples, people may suggest putting the name on the document can secure rights for both parents, even if one shares no biological connection to the child.
The name on the birth certificate misconception can lead to issues. According to the New York Times, the birth certificate holds no legal power.
What it does do
Putting both of your names on your child’s birth certificate can make some things easier. You may have an easier time with certain things, such as enrolling your child in school or handling other similar situations because your name is on the document as the parent. In non-legal situations, it will enable you to show you are the parent and have the right to make some minor decisions for the child.
What it doesn’t do
Having your name on the birth certificate will not stand up in any legal situation. If you wish to seek custody or you want to handle another legal situation concerning your child, the birth certificate alone will not help you because it does not give you parental rights under the law.
You will have to secure legal rights, which you can do through voluntarily submitting forms for parentage or through the court. You can ask the court to grant you parental rights. For LGBTQ couples, this often requires the cooperation of the biological parent.
Do keep in mind, if you legally adopt your child and neither of you is the biological parent, then you should have no issues with securing legal rights because you already do that through the adoption. The birth certificate in this situation also will change to reflect your names.