Does Having the Father’s Name on the Birth Certificate Make A Difference If I Leave the State?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I live in New Mexico and got pregnant in July 2006. Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant I found out my boyfriend was using drugs and I asked him to move out and we broke up. Since then he has been arrested and is in jail. My question now is, if I put his name on the birth certificate so my child will have access to his fathers identity when he or she grows up, can I still move back to California to be near my family after the baby is born without having to worry about future kidnapping charges? Even though right now the father doesn’t appear to be concerned about either of us, people do change and I don’t want to have to worry about him coming after me someday. Is it a bad idea to put the name on the birth certificate? I am not worried about child support because I am a nurse and can afford to take care of this child on my own. Please help!”I think you are looking out for your child when you want him/her to know their heritage. Merely having the name on the birth certificate will not lock you into staying in New Mexico. If ever a paternity case is filed to establish parental rights and responsibilities, in your case one of the over-riding factors may be the status quo – what has been going on. If he takes no part in child’s life, then he would have little grounds to block a move. Parental neglect is a factor considered in many states.

Question: AND even if his name was not on the birth certificate, he could still seek his parental rights. So if father ever wants to go that way, and become an active part of child’s life (usually a good thing!) he’d be able to do that no matter what that piece of paper says (unless there is some other presumptive father in the picture, who is in your child’s life).