What Happens If Father Does Not Sign Birth Certificate at Hospital?

Updated on May 12, 2011
M.M. asks from Tucson, AZ
23 answers

Hi ladies,
So as you all know i have filed for divorce, but am having a baby within the next week or 2. His baby, but he is going out of town this week, so i'm afraid he wont be here to sign the birth certificate if i go into labor. i don't want to have to deal with a paternity test, blah blah and the divorce just because he doesnt think the fact that i am having his baby any day is important enough to stay in town.
I'm not really sure what happens. Will everything be ok if he is not there to sign the birth certificate? Is it enough to have his name on it? I am filing for child suport and gov. assistance.
Thanks in advance!
Heres what i found:(we are still married for now)
Arizona law (§36-334) requires that if a mother is not married at the time a child is born and has not been married any time during the preceding 10 months, no father will be named on the birth certificate unless both parents file sworn statements or unless so ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction

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answers from St. Louis on

My husband at the time never had to sign the birth certificate. I just filled it out and signed it. I actually think there is or was something that the husband is assumed or something.

Why don't you just call the hospital and ask them?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Call the hospital that you think that you will be going to and ask them. Tell them the situation. Good luck!


2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Santa Fe on

I am in NM, how it was handled at the hospital 6 weeks ago for our littlest guy was that if you were married at any time in the last 10 months, then the baby is presumed to be the husbands baby. No signature required - other than mom's.
(If you were not married, or wanted to declare different paternity, then they had a separate set of forms that needed to be filled out, in addition to the initial ones.)
How I read the law that you quoted is that it is the same as here. The people at the hospital are used to all sorts of different situations coming into the hospital - you could call and ask in advance, or talk to them while you are there. I think it will not be a big issue at all! Try not to worry- you have better things to worry about. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Not sure about where you are, but here, while the hospital provides a package of all the forms for you to fill out & they will send it off, you can also take it home & have up to 30 days to send it in. What if you hadnt decided on a name yet? I would check and see if you can send it later.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I have lots of experience doing birth certificates at a hospital.
I'm in California, but things only really get tricky when the parents aren't legally married.
A father can't be named on the birth certificate unless both parents sign a declaration of paternity and their signatures are witnessed by a hospital official or notary public.
You are married.
I have had many, many parents who were married and not even going through a separation and either parent can sign the birth certificate in that case.
Example: We had a baby who was sick and had to be flown out. This all happened very suddenly and there was no time for the parents to worry about the birth certificate in that case. They had an older child and the dad travelled back to take care of things at home and he alone signed the birth certificate. The mother wasn't available in that case. They were legally married, there was no issue.
Like I said, in my experience, it only gets tricky if the parents aren't married.
Both parents can be named and either parent can sign the birth certificate if you are married.
Call the hospital where you will deliver and ask....
There is such a thing as a "married but separated" packet of paperwork to fill out. It doesn't sound like he's contesting paternity though.
That's all it boils down to. No one cares if people are married or not or divorced or separated. All that matters is the legality of paternity where the birth certificate is concerned.
I know that when I enter information into the state computer it only asks if the mother was married at any time during the pregnancy and if you answer yes....it doesn't require anymore information.

I hope that helps. I know this is a tough time for you.
Take care of yourself and the baby.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No name, no signature, no child support, when single ... depending on the state of the divorce proceedings that could be the case I would talk to a lawyer just to make sure.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I agree, call the hospital and ask to speak with the person who files the birth certificates, they are probable your best source of information. Just a thought, can your husband sign anything now, before he leaves town?

Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

What I understand from the law you posted is that your husband will be listed as the father whether he is there to sign or not because 1) y'all are still legally married (you filed for divorce but it's not final yet) 2) even if your divorce were final, you were married part of the preceding 10 months.

Personally, I wouldn't tell them you have filed for divorce. When it is time to do the birth certificate tell them you are married to X. If they ask where he is just say he is out of town working. I doubt anyone would think twice about that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Here my husband was never present when I filled out the paperwork. He never had to sign a thing. I filled it all out at the hospital and turned it back in before I left. Not sure if it makes a difference if you aren't married....but since your divorce isn't final -- you are still technically legally married so I don't think there would be a problem listing him (though I had all my babies in IL...not AZ) without his presence.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I think that when you are married, the father's name is automatically put on the birth certificate. At least, that's the way it is here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

You need to check the birth certificate laws for your state. Here where I live I was given the birth certificate form and was told that I could take it home and file it up to a year later. However being the planner that I am and wanting to set up savings accounts for each of my daughters I needed for them to have social security numbers ASAP which meant I needed to file the the paperwork. In the hustle and bustle of moving things around I didn't want to risk getting the paperwork lost, but I also didn't have to deal with the concerns that you're having now.

Anyway, you should be able to take the birth certificate form home and fill it all out there and have it ready for his signature when he gets back. Then you just send it to your town clerk's office as opposed to your hospital handling it for you. If the hospital insists that you file it with them, then you fill out everything including his information and then you sign your portion.

You might want to point out to him that if he's not around for the birth and to sign paperwork at the hospital that it will cause problems for him when it comes to custody later. And the court will probably ask for a paternity test which they'll temporarily cover but when it shows him as the father (for the purposes of establishing paternity and thus making him responsible for child support) he'll be responsible for paying the court back for the testing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If you are legally married at the time of the birth, the husband is presumed to be the father. I never had my husband sign anything. The hospital came to the room asked me the name of the baby, and wala. I would thin regardless of him being there or not, you are married, the kid is his. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I know that if a woman is married the legal assumption is that the baby is the husband's. If you soon-to-be ex disagrees - the burden of proof is on him and not on you. If you are filing for gov. assistance, they will go after him for child support. You can just sit on sidelines and smile - let him fight them and prove that the children are not his, spend money, etc. Good luck. At the hospital, you just put his name down and sign the BS yourself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

In a lot of states the divorce can not be finalized when the wife is pregnant. It's that way so the baby will be assumed his. BUT, here in Missouri the law is changing. I'm not sure if it's past completely or in the middle of passing. But I've skimmed various stories that are saying that men have been forced to pay child support for decades for children that were not theirs. So they are going to change things so that the men can get paternity tests and the woman can be in big trouble and have to pay him back for support that she wasn't entitled to.

I have no idea how your state is set up. But I can tell you that state assistance is given with the full intention of getting that support back where possible. I have an uncle that's been paying back support for his kids that were on welfare and his kids have all been grown and married for so long that some of them will be GRANDPARENTS before the dad is done paying it all back!

The thing I don't understand is how or why the woman are not on the hook for paying back the welfare too when they are employed. But that's another subject :)



answers from Topeka on

I had all my papers filled out for some reason when I picked up my daughters birth certifticate my name wasn't signed before or after her dads it is on their as i'am the birth mom I had to pull a supervisor out & ask how could this be I know I signed it & it wasn't she said not to worry lack of my signatuere isn't going to do anything to me so I was ok with that i'm on there just not my signature don't know for sure if I over looked but I always check & check then rechecked.I don;t know about the fathers if a signature has to be on there for child support in the future i'm assuming it has to be since he is the father,since you are still married to him it may be different



answers from Toledo on

I know here in Ohio, if a woman is married, the husband is automatically assumed to be the father and is listed on the birth certificate as such, no signature from him required. Even if the mother and the husband both agree that baby is not husband's, he is still listed and must then petition for paternity testing.



answers from Minneapolis on

With my son I didn't put down the dad's information (he wasn't around and still to this day doesn't want anything to do with him and he is going to be 12 in a little over a month) so on his birth certificate it is just me at first with my maiden name and now with my married name.

With my twins my husband didn't need to fill out the paperwork because we were married so it was an automatic thing (Minnesota and the twins are going to be 6 in July).



answers from Washington DC on

Talk to your divorce attorney .. he should be able to answer these questions for you. Laws very state to state. But the two states I've had children in didn't even ask about being married or not ... they handed us the forms for names and that was it ... when they typed up the actual certificate either one of us could sign it. But only one of us had to. This was in CA and KS.

But the best way to know what is needed for your state it so talk to an attorney who practices there.



answers from Cincinnati on

my hubby and i were not married when our son was born. they gave us a pamplet on naming of the father. if you are unmarried the man needs to fill out paper work and you both need to sign stating he is the father. if you are married at the time the child is born your husband is named the father (even if it is not his child) unless he contest otherwise, then DNA test are required.



answers from Phoenix on

When I had my 2nd we were arguing about her name so we couldn't do the birth certificate right away. We were told that we could just file the birth certificate at a later date. So if you wanted to wait for the dad to come back in town to file the birth certificate you could. The problem is that it is much easier to have them do it for you at the hospital than to go down to the office/registrar and do it yourself. So i don't think it is a problem if you/he really wants to wait to do it after he's back in town. This was in AZ but over a dozen years ago.



answers from St. Louis on

So I have had a baby as a non-married person, had one friend going through a divorce, and several married friends. Here is what I know when it comes to paternity (the AZ law seems to read the same as most states). If you were married at the time of conception or at birth, it is assumed that the husband is the father of the child. His name goes on the birth certificate if it is put on there. So, even though you will be divorced, he was your husband at time of conception and he is assumed to be the father. I'm thinking you will potentially still be married when you actually have the baby and even if divorce papers are filed, they are not official, so really that is not a factor. The only way he can technically not receive the paternal rights and obligations is by 1) protesting it and demanding the DNA tests himself, which he could possibly do as part of the court proceedings, 2) signing a form acknowledging that he is not the father (however, to do this, you have to sign a form also acknowledging that he is not the father and stating that another man is the father, which usually coincides with another man signing a third form where he acknowledges being the father too). Basically, it should be assumed that he is the father no matter what happens, so you should be able to put his name on it no matter what.



answers from Youngstown on

Well I live in Ohio and I am not sure what your state does but my husband never signed a birth certificate. Even with our first we weren't married and I named him father and gave our son his last name. If you are married the baby I believe automaticaly he is named the father.

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