Click here for frequently asked questions related to paternity and parentage.
To change the name of the father on a birth certificate, or to add the name of the father to it, and if the birth certificate that is already filed with local and state registrars, please follow these steps. Please note that because each situation is different, every application must be reviewed by a specialist to determine whether it is acceptable. If the application is determined to not be acceptable, you will be contacted with additional instructions, which will increase the processing time.
- Fill out Form VS-166 – Application for New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage.
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The application to add or change the father's name must be signed by both parents in the presence of a notary public. When paternity is established by a court decree, only one parent must sign the application in the presence of a notary public.
- Send the completed application to Texas Vital Statistics in Austin (the address is on the form) along with the required fee of $25 for the new certificate and one of the following three types of supporting documentation:
- Certified copy of a marriage license between mother and father that occurs after the birth of the child.
- Acknowledgment of Paternity
- Certified copy of court decree
The applicant should also send an additional $22 for each certified copy of the amended record.
Or, you can personally bring in the form, fees, and documentation to our office Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
Texas Vital Statistics
1100 West 49th Street
Austin, Texas 78756
If the change involves adding a father's information to a birth certificate on which the father's information was left blank, the supporting documentation needed is either the certified copy of a marriage license or an Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, if paternity was established by a court order, you must submit a certified copy of that court order. A court order will also be required if changes have previously been made to the birth certificate.
If the change you are wanting to make involves removing the father's information or removing one man's information and adding the information of another man, the supporting documentation must be a certified copy of a court order saying that the man listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father or that the man to be added to the birth certificate is the biological father. In some cases, a properly filled out and signed, first-time-ever Acknowledgement of Paternity can be submitted if ths "denial" portion has been filled out.
Texas Vital Statistics will create a new supplemental record based on paternity, remove the original from the records, and file the supplemental record. A copy of the supplemental record will also be forwarded to the local registrar and will replace the original record in the local registrar's files. The Application for New Birth Certificate Based on Parentage, supporting documents, and the original birth certificate will be placed in a sealed paternity file upon acceptance for filing. This sealed file can be opened only by a district court or a court with family-law jurisdiction.
Since 1966, most paternity actions through Texas courts have been reported to Texas Vital Statistics. If a court has provided sufficient information to validate an adjudicated action, a certified copy of the court decree is not required.
When an application for a new birth certificate based on parentage is submitted along with a certified copy of a marriage license or an Acknowledgment of Paternity, the parents can, in most cases, change the child's name without needing a court-ordered change of name. If the application for a new birth certificate based on parentage is supported with an adjudicated action, the court order must specify the new name of the child in order for the new name to be incorporated into the supplemental certificate.
A specialist trained in parentage issues will review your application. However, we cannot file the new application until all aspects of your application have been reviewed. If filing is not possible, Texas Vital Statistics will send you a letter explaining the situation.