Birth Amendments

We can only amend Birth records if the child was born in the City of Haverhill.  If you wish to amend a birth record, and the child was born in another City/Town, please see that City/Town for assistance.  We charge $35.00 to amend a record.  Common amendments for birth certificates include: adding father's information; correct spelling of names; and adoptions.  We take amendment requests in the order received and process them as soon as we receive the evidence, the average turn around ranges from one week to one month.

The most common reason that a birth certificate gets amended is to add the father's information.  To add dad's information, both parents must complete the acknowlegement of parentage form and sign-off on an amended record of birth.  For more information on Establishing Paternity for your Child, please see the material below which is taken directly from (http://www.mass.gov/dor/child-support/your-child-support/information-about-child-support/paternity-establishment/frequently-asked-questions.html):

How do I establish paternity for my child?

Parents who are not married to each other can establish paternity — legal fatherhood — for their child only if both parents sign a paternity acknowledgment form or if either of them asks a court to establish paternity.

Signing a Paternity Acknowledgment Form: The Easy Way To Establish Paternity For Your Child

Parents can establish paternity for their child by signing a form called the VOLUNTARY ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PARENTAGE. (This is sometimes called acknowledging paternity.) Once both parents have signed this form and their signatures have been notarized, the man becomes the legal father of the child and his name goes on the child’s birth certificate. No one has to go to court.

Parents can acknowledge paternity this way in three places:

• The hospital
Parents can complete the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form shortly after the birth of their child, while the mother and child are still in the hospital. The birth registrar at the hospital can help with this. There is no fee when the parents sign the acknowledgment in the hospital.

• City or Town Clerk’s Office
If parents do not establish paternity before they leave the hospital, they can still acknowledge paternity for their child by completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form and filing it at the city or town clerk’s office in the community where the child was born. Both parents’ signatures must be notarized, which the city or town clerk can do. The clerk may charge a fee for filing.

• Registry of Vital Records and Statistics (RVRS)
A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form can also be completed at RVRS, regardless of the community where the child was born. There is a fee associated with this service. In certain circumstances, the process be done through the mail. Please check the RVRS web site under the “Amendments and Corrections” section at http://www.mass.gov/dph/rvrsfor complete details.
Parents can acknowledge paternity for their child any time in the child’s life.

If a parent has questions about, or is unsure, who a child’s biological father really is, a parent should not sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form. Instead, the parent should ask a judge or DOR for paternity tests.

Undoing a Paternity Acknowledgment

Legal fatherhood for the child is established as of the date both parents sign the acknowledgment form, if it is properly completed and filed. However:

•If, within 60 days of the date both parents signed the acknowledgment form, either parent files a complaint in Probate and Family Court to “rescind” the acknowledgment (that is, have it declared null and void), then the court will order paternity tests. The complaint must be filed in the court of the county in which the child and one of the parents lives.
•If, within 60 days of signing, the parent questioning paternity is a party to a court hearing about the child (for instance, to establish a child support order, a custody and visitation order, or in a care and protection proceeding), the parent must raise the issue of the child’s paternity at the hearing. If the parent fails to raise the paternity issue at the hearing the acknowledgment is as binding as a court judgment of paternity, whether or not the 60 day recision period has expired. Neither party can rescind the acknowledgment later, even if it has not been 60 days since the acknowledgment was signed.
•After 60 days, the acknowledgment is as binding as a court judgment of paternity and has the same legal force and effect. However, parents can challenge the acknowledgment, BUT only in court, only within one year of the date both parents sign, and only on limited grounds of fraud, duress or material mistake of fact.
The court will generally order the parents and child to undergo paternity tests that determine whether the man is the biological father of the child by comparing certain genetic characteristics that show up in blood or tissue samples from the child and both parents. These samples are obtained either by rubbing a cotton swab on the inside of the cheek or, on rare occasions, by a simple blood draw.

Going to Court to Establish Paternity: Another Way to Establish Paternity For Your Child

Another way to establish paternity is for either parent, a child, or DOR to start a court action to establish paternity.

As part of the court action, a judge may order the biological mother, the man who may be the father, and the child to have paternity tests. These tests are generally quick, easy, and painless. After reviewing the test results and any other relevant information, the judge will decide whether or not the man is the father of the child. If the judge enters an order that the man is the child’s legal father, this will establish paternity for the child and the father’s name will go on the child’s birth certificate.

A judge may establish paternity of a child without paternity tests. If the man named as the father does not appear in court, the judge may consider evidence other than paternity tests, such as the mother’s testimony, to establish paternity. Also, paternity testing may be completed even if the mother is not available.

At any time during the court process, the parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form, and there will no longer be a need for a judge to determine paternity. During the court process, the judge or DOR may require you to have paternity testing before signing the VoluntaryAcknowledgment of Parentage form. The parents give up their right to the 60 day recision period if they sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form during the court process.