When You Marry the Child's Father After the Child is Born
If there is not a father listed on your child's birth certificate and you were not married at the time of your child's birth or anytime during the pregnancy but later marry the father and want to have his name added to your child's birth certificate, you can request what is called a 'legitimation' of birth. Legitimation is a legal process that establishes the father of a child born out of wedlock as the child's legal father.
You can start that process at your nearest Vital Records office or the DHEC State Vital Records Office in Columbia. You will need to provide a certified copy of the marriage license, and both you and the child's father will have to sign a statement called an 'affidavit' in the presence of a notary. You will also need to request a certified copy of the birth certificate.
Applying by Mail
If you and the father cannot visit a Vital Records office together, you may submit your request by mail. You will need to mail us the following:
- Your request for a birth certificate and a statement saying that you want to add the father to the birth certificate
- A certified copy of your marriage license (this will not be returned to you)
- A phone number where you can be reached between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
DHEC staff will review and determine if legitimation can be completed. If the father can be added, an affidavit will be mailed. Both parents will need to sign it in the presence of a notary and return the signed document with the $15 amendment fee.
When You Want to Add a Paternity Acknowledgement (Out of Wedlock) to Your Child's Birth Certificate
DHEC staff will have to review the request to determine if a paternity acknowledgment can be completed. If you are the mother, you can have this review made. You will need to:
- Request a certified copy of the child's birth certificate with photo ID
- Notify DHEC staff that you would like to have a father added to the birth certificate.
You can initiate this process at your nearest Vital Records office, at the DHEC State Vital Records office in Columbia or by mail.
A paternity acknowledgment cannot be completed if the mother was married at any time during the pregnancy or at the child's birth, or if a father is recorded on the birth record.
Once the review is completed and we determine that a father can be added to the record, both you and the father will need to sign the paternity acknowledgment form in the presence of a notary. Once the form is signed and notarized, the father's name can be added to the certificate. We will then be able to give you a certified copy.
The amendment fee is $15 in addition to the fees for certified copies of the birth certificate.
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