How do I Change a Child's Name on Vital Records in Georgia?

By Brenna Davis

Vital records include items such as birth, death and marriage certificates. For children, the most significant — and typically the only — vital record is the birth certificate, and this certificate is important for establishing identity. There are several reasons why a parent might want to change his child's name on her birth certificate. An error on the certificate and newly established paternity are common reasons for changing the name on a child's vital records, and these name changes are typically simple. Other reasons for a name change can be more complicated.

Vital records include items such as birth, death and marriage certificates. For children, the most significant — and typically the only — vital record is the birth certificate, and this certificate is important for establishing identity. There are several reasons why a parent might want to change his child's name on her birth certificate. An error on the certificate and newly established paternity are common reasons for changing the name on a child's vital records, and these name changes are typically simple. Other reasons for a name change can be more complicated.

Paternity

Step 1

Complete a petition for legitimation from the family court in in the county in which you reside. The father must take a paternity test to establish paternity if the mother will not sign a stipulation to the father's paternity. Check the box on the certificate indicating that you wish to have the child's name changed.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More

Step 2

File the petition with the clerk of court. If the petition is part of child custody or child support proceedings, you can greatly benefit from hiring a competent family law attorney. If you are merely attempting to establish paternity and change the child's name to the father's, however, a judge will issue an order formally changing the child's name.

Step 3

Attend all hearings if you are engaged in a dispute over paternity. When your case is completed, the judge will enter a final order listing the child's new name. In most cases, the court will send this order to the Georgia Office of Vital Records, but you should check with the Office of Vital Records to ensure the name has been changed. Then order a copy of the new birth certificate.

Birth Certificate Errors

Step 1

Complete a birth certificate request form from the Georgia Department of Community Health. Fill out the form and check the box requesting a certified copy, which is required for birth certificate changes. Pay the fee for the certificate.

Step 2

Circle the changes you want made on the birth certificate and attach a written request itemizing the changes. The Office of Vital Records is more likely to change the birth certificate if the request is signed by both parents.

Step 3

Attach the fee for changing the records and return to the Office of Vital Records. If you are requesting a change due to clerical error or misspelling, the office is likely to change the certificate without a problem. If the office does not change the certificate, you will have to file a formal petition for name change. Follow the steps in Section 3.

Name Change Petition

Step 1

Fill out a petition for name change and verification at the family division of the Superior Court in the county in which you reside. If both parents — or guardians, if your child has them — agree to the name change, both should sign the petition. If only one parent is requesting the name change, you must serve the other parent and any guardians with the petition. You should ask the sheriff to serve the Office of Vital Records and Department of Human Resources. There may be a fee associated with service.

Step 2

Attach any records relevant to your petition for name change. If, for example, you recently divorced and wish to change your child's name, attach the final divorce decree. If you have affidavits from professionals or any other evidence that a name change is in the child's best interest, attach these as well.

Step 3

Wait for the judge to view the records. If anyone objects to the name change, there may be a hearing at which each side argues their case. If a hearing is scheduled, you may want to hire a family law attorney to represent your interests. In most cases, however, the judge will automatically change the name and enter a final order. Deliver the final order to the Office of Vital Records and Department of Human Resources.

Get help changing your legal name. Learn More
Legal Name Change Methods

References

Resources

Related articles

How to File for Visitation Rights in Nevada

Nevada, like all other states, uses the "best interests of the child" standard in determining child custody and visitation. Nevada state law is explicit in protecting both parents' rights to their children and judges almost always grant visitation to the non-custodial parent. When parents divorce, state law requires that each parent file a parenting plan with their divorce pleadings. However, when parents were never married, the mother may retain custody of the children until the father seeks visitation.

Legal Name Change Options

There are a number of reasons people change their name, including unifying a family, getting married or starting fresh with a new self image. It is illegal to change your name to avoid debt collectors or evade arrest, and many states have laws prohibiting sex offenders and other convicted felons from changing their names. The reason for your name change can affect the process of changing your name, and once your name is legally changed, you must change your name on financial documents to avoid confusion and maintain access to your money and bills.

How to Change Your Name if a Marriage Certificate Does Not Have Your Married Name

Most people who change their name when they marry change their name on their marriage license, which makes the name-change process much easier. If, however, you didn't initially change your name and now you want to, you'll typically need to file a legal petition, asking for a name change. Name-change laws vary from state to state, so consult the law in your area before attempting to change your name.

Doing the right thing has never been easier.

Related articles

How to Make a Legal Name Change in West Virginia

There are a number of reasons people change their names, and West Virginia law allows people to change their names by ...

How to Change a Minor's Last Name With Divorced Parents in Maryland

A divorce often means a name change for both parent and child. In Maryland, you must file the appropriate forms to ...

Laws on Name Changes Involving Marriages in Georgia

Traditionally, a woman changed her last name to her husband's name when they married. However, traditions are changing ...

How to Legally Change Your Name in Massachusetts

You can change your name in Massachusetts for any reason that is considered valid by the courts. Name change petitions ...

Browse by category