How Do I Change My Child’s Last Name and Add My Name to the Birth Certificate in Texas?

When fathers seek to assert their parental rights, they frequently inquire about the process of adding their name to their child’s birth certificate in Texas. In addition to concerns about changing their child’s last name, many fathers wonder if it’s possible to add a last name to a birth certificate. This inquiry arises from the desire to establish legal recognition and parental rights over their children.

In Texas, the process of adding a father to a birth certificate involves specific legal procedures and documentation to ensure the accurate representation of parental relationships. By understanding the intricacies of this process, fathers can navigate the legal framework effectively and assert their rights in establishing their identity and connection to their children.

There are various reasons their name might not be on the birth certificate, and sometimes, the child’s mother may have chosen a different last name for the child. The primary reason, as reported by both fathers and mothers, is the father’s absence during childbirth. Various explanations include:

– Fathers saying, “I was not invited.”
– Mothers stating, “The father was initially present but left to be with his girlfriend.”

In this blog post, we’ll explore:

1) The significance of being present during a child’s birth concerning naming and adding the father’s name to the birth certificate.
2) Steps to take if your name is omitted from the birth certificate in Texas.
3) The process of changing your child’s last name.

There are multiple reasons why it is a good idea to be present at your child’s birth. As a father myself, it was never a question in my mind on whether I would be present. The experience of becoming a father begins the moment your child is born. Becoming a father starts a journey of a lifetime.

Fathers who miss their child’s birth often complain about their name not being on the birth certificate and the mother choosing a different last name. Their absence during the child’s birth means they’re not present when the following forms were completed at the hospital:

  1. Acknowledgment of Paternity
  2. Mother’s Worksheet for Child’s Birth Certificate

What is an Acknowledgment of Paternity?

The voluntary signing of an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form is one of five ways to establish paternity. Usually this is done at the hospital soon after the child’s birth because of convenience. The child’s mother and father are usually together and eager to secure the child’s legal connection to his or her father.

Most parents come to the hospital planning for the father’s name to be on the birth certificate. In Texas, an unmarried man must sign the AOP before his name can be added to the birth certificate. Therefore, if a father isn’t married to the mother and misses the child’s birth, the mother can’t add the father’s name to the birth certificate without his signature on this form.

Getting the Child’s Birth Certificate Amended

Two ways to get a child’s birth certificate amended include:

  1. Outside of Court, if there have been no court proceedings started
  2. Through the Courts in Texas

Outside of Court

If the Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form was not completed in the hospital, it may later be completed outside of the hospital by agreement with the mother. However, this is a form that you and the mother cannot complete by yourself. In fact, the form is restricted and only available through certified entities.

The form must be witnessed by someone who has taken a special Acknowledgement of Paternity course and who has been assigned a certified entity code. This is a course that must be annually renewed. The witness must read warnings to those signing the form of the legal significance of doing so. This is why it is often easier to take care of this in the hospital which is equipped for this purpose.

Once an AOP has been completed and received by the State Health Department Vital Statistics Unit from all parties of the AOP, you must complete an Application Based on Parentage form. This form is used to change and add a father to the birth certificate. This form may also be used to change the child’s last name at the same time.

Through the Court System

If not everyone will sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity, then it will be necessary to establish paternity through the court system. A court order is all necessary to establish:

  1. Rights and Duties
  2. Visitation
  3. Child Support

Thus, if you are looking to do more than get your name listed as the father on a birth certificate or change the last name of the child, then it may be necessary to seek these remedies through the court. The cause of action that you will filing will be a Petition to Adjudicate Paternity.

In your Petition, you can ask for your paternity to be established and the birth certificate be amended.

Factors a Court Will Considered

This is a decision of the court based on the “best interest of the child.” Currently the Texas Supreme Court has identified what factors should be considered when determining if a name change is in a child’s best interest. But appellate courts in Texas and other jurisdictions have identified many such nonexclusive factors. The 14TH District Court of Appeals in Houston in “In Re H.S.B. 401 S.W.3d 77 (Tex. App -Houston [14th Dist.] 2011) provided the following factors as being the most relevant in the majority of cases:

  1. the name that would best avoid anxiety, embarrassment, inconvenience, confusion, or disruption for the child, which may include consideration of parental misconduct and the degree of community respect (or disrespect) associated with the name,
  2. the name that would best help the child’s associational identity within a family unit, which may include whether a change in name would positively or negatively affect the bond between the child and either parent or the parents’ families,
  3. assurances by the parent whose surname the child will bear that the parent will not change his or her surname at a later time,
  4. the length of time the child has used one surname and the level of identity the child has with the surname,
  5. the child’s preference, along with the age and maturity of the child, and
  6. whether either parent is motivated by concerns other than the child’s best interest—for example, an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent.


Adding a father to a birth certificate in Texas is crucial for establishing legal recognition and parental rights. This process, often inquired about by fathers, involves not only changing the child’s last name but also ensuring accurate representation of parental relationships. Understanding the legal requirements and procedures is essential for navigating this process effectively. Seeking guidance from legal professionals helps ensure compliance with Texas laws and safeguards parental rights throughout this important undertaking.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to add father to birth certificate in Texas?

The cost to add a father to a birth certificate in Texas may vary. It’s best to consult with the vital records office or relevant authorities in your area to determine the exact fees and requirements.

Do I have to put the father on the birth certificate in Texas?

No, it is not mandatory to put the father on the birth certificate in Texas. However, it is generally beneficial to establish paternity and include the father’s information for legal and parental rights purposes.

How do I put my dad on child support in Texas?

To put your dad on child support in Texas, you can contact the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division. They will guide you through the process, which typically involves filling out the necessary forms, providing relevant information, and working with the legal system to establish child support obligations.

How do I establish paternity in Texas?

Paternity in Texas can be established through various methods. These include signing the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form, genetic testing, or obtaining a court order. Each method has its own requirements and procedures. It’s advisable to consult with legal professionals or the appropriate authorities to determine the best approach in your situation.

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