Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Thank you for your question.
If you are not married, the mother's name or maiden name automatically go on the child's birth certificate as the surname. However, if you and the mother agree to both sign an acknowledgment of paternity stating that you are the legal father, your name can go on the birth certificate. If the mother refuses to sign such an acknowledgment, you can petition the court for an order of paternity once the child is born. Once paternity is established, your name would be entered on the birth certificate as the child's surname.
Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.
One follow-up question - If the mother refuses to sign the acknowledgement and the father is not recognized as the biological father, is there a legal obligation to pay child support?
No. The obligation begins once the father is determined by a court to be the biological father. However, the child support order may be made retroactive.