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Child Support Services Division

 

 

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Attorney General
Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia
 

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Birth Certificates

 

Identifying a father on the child’s birth certificate

District law determines the circumstances under which the father’s name will be on his child’s birth certificate.  Having the father’s name on the birth certificate establishes an automatic legal relationship between the father and the child.

Generally, the birth certificate must include the name of the mother’s husband as the father if she was married or the name of the mother’s partner if she was in a registered domestic partnership when the child was conceived or born, or between conception and birth. 

If the mother was not married when the child was conceived or born, or between conception and birth, the birth certificate cannot include the father’s name unless the parents have signed an AOP, or there is a court order establishing paternity.

The child’s last name on a birth certificate

District law determines the last name (or “surname”) that can be given to a child. The last name can be:

  • The mother’s surname when the child was born;
  • The father’s surname when the child was born;
  • Both parents’ names, recorded in any order, hyphenated or unhyphenated; or
  • Any surname to which either the mother or father has a familial connection.  The District’s Vital Records Division requires a parent to sign an affidavit attesting to the familial connection.

For the father’s last name to be the child’s last name, he has to be recognized by law as the father.