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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Birth Registration & Louisiana Paternity Laws
VR Packet 19 Rev. 1/05

I. Recordation of Surname/Paternity during Birth Registration – LRS 40:44 A.(1) states that a certificate of every childbirth shall be filed within 15 days with the vital records registry. The laws governing the assignment of a surname to a newborn child and the recordation of paternity differ depending upon the marital status of the mother at the time of the child’s conception and birth.

Newborns Born of Marriage: If the mother of a newborn child was married at the time of conception and birth, or had not been divorced for more than three hundred (300) days, the child is presumed to be the child of her husband. The child’s surname must be recorded as the surname of the husband of the mother, or if both the husband and the mother agree, the child’s surname may be the maiden name of the mother or a combination of the surnames of the mother and the father in either order [R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)(iii)]. The husband must be recorded on the birth certificate as the father of the child.

If the husband of the mother is not the biological father of the child, and the mother, her husband, and the child’s biological father execute a three-party Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit, the child’s surname may be recorded as the surname of the biological father, or if the mother, her husband and the child’s biological father agree, the surname may be a combination of the surname of the mother and the biological father in either order [R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)(vi)]. The name of the biological father will be recorded as the father of the child on the birth certificate. Use of the three-party affidavit process is limited to those cases wherein the husband and mother lived separate and apart continuously for a minimum of one hundred eighty days prior to the time of conception of the child and did not reconcile after the beginning of the one hundred and eighty-day period.

Newborns Born Outside of Marriage:
The surname of a child born outside of marriage shall be the mother's maiden name. If the natural father is known and if both the mother and the natural father agree, the surname of the child may be that of the natural father or a combination of the surname of the natural father and the maiden name of the mother. "Natural father" means a father whose child has been filiated by subsequent marriage of the parents or by a notarial act, or a father who has formally acknowledged his child born outside of marriage or who has been judicially declared the father in a filiation or paternity proceeding. In the case of a child whose certificate of birth fails to list the name of the father, the name of the biological father who is proven the be the father by DNA testing shall be listed as the father upon submission, by the mother or the father, of a certified copy of the DNA test results establishing paternity of the biological father.

A man may establish his paternity of a child presumed to be the child of another man even though the presumption has not been rebutted. The action shall be instituted within 2 years from the child’s date of birth unless the mother in bad faith deceived the father of the child regarding his paternity or unless the action pertains to Department of Social Services providing services per 42 USC 666. The act applies prospectively and retroactively to all pending and existing claims.

II. Change of Surname/Paternity After Birth Registration – If a child’s birth is recorded and the parent(s) later decide to change the child’s surname to that of the biological father and to record or correct the recordation of the paternity information, Louisiana law authorizes judicial and administrative processes to effect the changes. The processes differ depending upon whether the child is born of marriage or outside of marriage. When a vital record is changed, all copies of the original record should be returned to the Vital Records Registry for proper disposal.

Surname Change Only, Judicial: A certified copy of the petition and court ordered Name Change Judgment will suffice to change the surname shown on a registrant’s birth certificate. In the case of a minor child, both parents shown on the birth certificate must be parties to the action unless an exemption is granted by the court. Note: a Name Change Judgment cannot be used to add a man’s name as father on a birth certificate or to remove the name of the presumed father [LSA – R.S. 13:4754.B.].

In addition to the above process, a timely filed and successfully prosecuted disavowal of paternity by the presumed father (husband of the mother) in accordance with provision of the Louisiana Civil Code (C.C. Art. 187) will suffice to remove the presumed father’s name from the birth certificate. In that situation, the child’s surname would be changed to the maiden surname of the mother.

Child Born of Marriage: If the mother of a child is married at the time of conception and birth or has not been divorced for more than three hundred (300) days, the child is presumed to be the child of her husband. The husband’s information must be entered in the paternity information space on the certificate. The child’s surname must be recorded as the surname of the husband of the mother, or if both the husband and the mother agree, the surname of the child is recorded as the maiden name of the mother or a combination of the surnames of the mother and the father in either order [R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)(iii)].

Or, if the husband of the mother is not the biological father of the child and the husband and mother lived separate and apart continuously for a minimum of one hundred eighty days prior to the time of conception of the child and did not reconcile after the beginning of the one hundred and eighty-day period and the mother, her husband, and the biological father agree to correct the paternity information on the birth certificate and to change the child’s surname; then a properly executed three-party paternity affidavit will suffice to make the corrections [R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)(vi)].

Or, a paternity or filiation judgment flowing from an action filed by the mother, her husband (ex-husband), or the biological father will suffice to displace the paternity information shown on the birth certificate with the name and information of the biological father [R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)(vii)]. The mother, her husband (ex-husband), and the biological father are indispensable parties to the action [LSA – R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)vi)] unless parental rights have been terminated or the person is deceased.

Child Born Outside of Marriage: If the child is born outside of marriage and unacknowledged at birth as provided in Civil Code Article 180, the child’s name must be recorded as the mother’s maiden name and the father’s information must be left blank, except:

a.) An Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit executed by the mother and the biological father will suffice to add paternity information. The surname of the child may be changed to the surname of the biological father if the mother agrees or, if both the mother and the biological father agree, the surname of the child may be the mother’s maiden name, or a combination of the surname of the mother and the surname of the biological father, in either order [R.S. 40:34B.(1)(a)(iv)],

b.) The biological father is documented as the father of the child on the birth record if a certified copy of a DNA test documenting him as the biological father is submitted in accordance with Legislative Act 1251. The surname of the child will remain as the mother’s maiden name.

If the child is eighteen years of age or older, the paternity affidavit must be accompanied by an original statement signed by the District Attorney in the child’s parish of residence to the effect that the D.A.’s Office has no objection to the name change.

A paternity or filiation judgment flowing from an action filed by the mother or the biological father, the paternity judgment must clearly instruct the Vital Records Registry to change the surname of the child. If the filiation or paternity action is not initiated by the biological father, it shall have no affect on the surname of the child unless a name change is included in the judgment.

Sources of Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit Forms
Your Louisiana birthing hospital will make an Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit form available to you during your hospital stay and will notarize the document after you and your child’s father sign it. If you want to add paternity information to your child’s birth certificate and change your child’s name after birth registration, you may use a form printed from our web site or obtain a blank Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit form from the Central Vital Records Registry Document Alteration Office at 325 Loyola Avenue, Room 102 in New Orleans or the Deputy Local Registrar at your Parish Health Unit.

Preparation of Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit – Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavits are important legal documents. Adhere carefully to the following instructions:

  • The paternity affidavit must be prepared using an appropriate Louisiana Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit format.
  • Submit the original and one copy of the completed, signed and notarized affidavit to the Vital Records Registry. We will process your request, retain the original Affidavit, and forward the copy to the state Child Support Enforcement agency. The parents should also each retain a copy.
  • Prepare the affidavit in ink. Black ink is preferred. Affidavits prepared in pencil will be rejected.
  • Complete all items. Do not leave an item blank. If an item is “not applicable,” so indicate.
  • Avoid errors/erasures. If an error occurs, it is recommended that you prepare an entirely new affidavit.
  • Verify the spelling of all names. The birth registrant’s name will be recorded as shown on the affidavit. Affidavits that show discrepancies between parental and registrant surnames will be rejected as will affidavits that show erroneous dates, etc.
  • Sign the affidavit in front of the notary and two witnesses. Only properly notarized affidavits can be accepted.
  • Read and initial the Notice of Alternatives, Rights and Responsibilities inscribed on the third page of the affidavit and initial at the bottom of the page.

Note that LSA – R.S. 40:41 provides for a fine of up to ten thousand dollars or imprisonment for up to five years or both for any person convicted of willfully and knowingly providing false information or making a false statement in a Louisiana birth certificate or form presented in support of a birth certificate.

Processing an Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit
Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavits executed in the hospital at the time of birth are submitted to the Vital Records Registry with the birth registration by hospital staff. They are processed and filed without charge. Your child’s birth certificate will reflect the name and paternity information shown on the Affidavit.

Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavits executed after your child’s birth has been registered require special processing at the Central Vital Records Registry and statutory fees are applicable. Please be guided by the following:

Submit an appropriate original completed Acknowledgment of Paternity Affadavit, all existing certified cop(ies) of the child's birth certificate or a $15 search fee if you cannot provide a copy, any supporting evidentiary document(s), the statutory filing fee of eighteen ($18) dollars, plus the state charge of $.50 per mail transaction to:

Louisiana Vital Records Registry
Attn: Document Alteration Section
P.O. Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160

The fee does not include the cost of a certified copy of the record after the amendment is filed. Please include an additional fee of $9.00 for each copy of the amended certificate requested at the time of the amendment. Certified copies purchased at a later date will be fifteen dollars each plus the state charge of $.50 for each mail transaction.