Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on Birth
The questions and answers below address
general information about Birth Certificates.
The birth certificate is a legal document that
will follow your child throughout his or her
Naming your child is an important decision for
both you and your child.
Once the birth certificate is filed,
changes to the child’s name can be made as long
as each parent named on the birth certificate is
in agreement to the change.
After the child’s first birthday, the
certificate can only be amended to correct
errors or omissions that, depending on the type
of correction, may require supporting
After a child’s first birthday, any
amendment to the child’s name on the birth
certificate that requires documentary evidence
that cannot be supported by the submission of
such evidence can only be done by court order.
Parents may give their child any name they wish.
Traditionally, children born to married
parents have the same last name as their father.
However, a child can have the mother’s
surname, a hyphenated name made up of both the
mother and father’s surnames or any name the
Please be sure to review
the entire birth certificate for accuracy
Never sign a blank birth certificate.
When the mother
is married but separated or widowed, how
do I list the father?
•When the mother of a child is married at the time of birth,
she MUST list her husband as the father
of the child regardless of
she may refuse to supply
information on her husband because he is
not the biological father of her child.
The statement “mother refuses
information on husband” is entered on
The only way this can be removed
is by court order.
•If the husband dies prior to the birth of the child, the
husband’s information may be entered on
the birth certificate as the father of
Marital status would be indicated
“NO” with a pencil notation of
“widowed” on the back of the
•If the mother desires to show someone other than her
husband as the father of her child, she
must start proceedings in the courts to
determine the true facts of parentage.
If the court decrees that the
husband is not the father and the child
is declared illegitimate, the decree of
the court will be followed in filing and
changing the birth record.
When the mother is unmarried, how do I
list the father?
If a mother is unmarried, the father of
her child can only be listed on the
birth certificate at the time of
completion if the father acknowledges
paternity on the birth certificate or
through a court order.
By acknowledging paternity, both
mother and father are attesting to the
fact that the father is the biological
father of the child.
It is also possible to add a
father’s name once the birth certificate
has been filed submitting to the State
Office of Vital Statistics a completed
application to amend a birth
certificate, paternity acknowledgement
along with a $20.00 fee.
Establishing Paternity – How and Why
Establishing paternity will give
your child the same rights and benefits
as children born to married parents.
These rights and benefits may
1)legal proof of each parent’s
identity, 2) information on family
medical history in case of inherited
health problems, 3) the father’s name on
the birth certificate, 4) medical or
life insurance from either parent (if
available), 5) support from both
parents, including financial and medical
support, Social Security, veteran
benefits and military allowances (if
applicable). 6) Inheritance.
•How do parents benefit from
Gives the father and mother legal
1) seek an order for support,
2) seek a court order for custody or
3) have a say in some legal decisions
about the child.
•How can I establish paternity?
Establishing paternity means legally
determining the father of the child.
If the parents are not married to
each other when the child is born, the
child does not have a legal father
unless paternity is established.
The easiest way is for both
parents to sign a form saying that the
child is theirs.
A court also can establish
paternity by determining the father’s
Either way, paternity can be
established at any time for a minor
A genetic test can also determine who
the father is.
It involves gently wiping the
inside of the mouth with a swab.
Samples must be taken from the
mother, child and the man who is
believed to be the father.
What is the birth
If the birth occurs in
certificate generated by
medical records clerk.
If birth occurs
attended by a
generated by the
If birth occurs
office within 5
days of birth.
would be setup
of the birth
also be advised
as to what
they are to
bring with them.
information will be asked during the birth certificate
No matter who prepares the birth certificate, parents
will be asked to complete a worksheet that asks for some
basic demographic and medical information.
You will be offered two programs at the time of the
completion of the birth.
HEALTHY START PROGRAM
You will be asked if your child may be screened for
the Healthy Start Program.
The purpose of Healthy Start Infant (Postnatal)
Screening is to identify children who are at an
increased risk of a poor health outcome during the first
year of life, due to environmental, medical, nutritional
or behavioral risk factors.
If your child is eligible for the program, with
your consent, a Healthy Start representative.
Obtaining your child’s Social Security Number
The birth certificate is a means by which you,
as a parent, can obtain a social security number
for your child.
By indicating “yes” on your child’s birth
certificate, the Social Security Administration
(SSA) will issue a social security number for
your child within 12 weeks.
This number will be helpful to you in
filing taxes, obtaining a passport for your
child, admission to day care programs, school
entrance and other program.
You will not automatically receive a
birth certificate after the birth of your child.
The hospital may provide you with a hospital birth
record. However, this
document is not an official certified copy of the birth
The State Office of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville will
mail you a “birth notification”, within 2 to 3 months after the
birth of your child, that informs you of the official filing
with that office and allows you the opportunity to verify the
information shown. You
may use this “Birth Notification” form to notify them of any
errors or to order a birth certificate through the state office.
It is also possible to obtain a certification from local Vital
Certificates can be issued only to the
registrant (child named on the record) if of legal age (18),
parent, guardian or legal representative of one of those
individuals or by court order. In the case of a deceased
registrant, upon receipt of the death certificate of the
decedent, a certification of the birth certificate can be issued
to the spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, if of legal age, or
to the legal representative of any of these persons as well as
to the parent.
100 years following the date of birth,
the birth certificate becomes public record and anyone may
obtain a copy of the Birth Certificate.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF
If the applicant does not have an acceptable form of
identification, an alternate would be to present photocopies of
two documents with the applicant’s name, such as a utility bill,
a recent paycheck stub, an employment or organizational ID, or a
Social Security card. At
least one of these documents must have the applicant’s
WHAT RECORDS ARE
Florida Vital Statistics Offices can provide
records for births that were filed in Florida from 1930 to the
present. Prior to 1930,
requests must be made to the State Office of Vital Statistics,
HOW CAN I
ORDER A BIRTH CERTIFICATE FROM ANOTHER STATE?