Correct/Amend a Vital Record
Vital records in Missouri can be corrected or amended in specific instances in accordance with state statutes and regulations with the proper documentary evidence and/or legal documents1. Some of these changes can be performed with a correction affidavit and applicable documentation, while some changes or amendments, such as a legal name change, require a court order. If a court order is required, you will likely need a lawyer or, in some cases, you can represent yourself.
If you cannot afford legal services, and do not wish to represent yourself, you may be eligible for pro bono program services. Typically, any court order submitted to the Bureau of Vital Records (930 Wildwood Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109) should be a certified copy and may require a statutory fee for processing.
For more information about requesting a correction or amendment to a Missouri vital record, see below or contact the Bureau of Vital Records at 573-751-6387, option 2.
Correction or amendment services include, but are not limited to:
In Missouri, in accordance with RSMo 453.100, after the completion of an adoption and entry of the Certificate Decree of Adoption (CDA), the clerk of the court shall immediately send to the Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Records, a certificate of the decree of adoption, which shall set forth the original name, the new name, sex, date, and place of birth of the person adopted, the name of his natural parents, if known, the names of the adopting parents, and any other pertinent facts set forth in the decree of adoption.
Fees: $15.00 to process the CDA. Additional $15.00 for copy of new birth certificate upon submission of an Application for Missouri Vital Record. Make check or money order payable to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Note: If no certificate of birth is on file for the person under twelve years of age who has been adopted, a belated certificate of birth shall be filed with the state registrar as provided in sections 193.005 to 193.325 before a new birth record is to be established as result of adoption. See register a vital record for more information. A new certificate will then be established on the basis of the adoption and be prepared on a certificate of live birth form.
If no certificate of birth has been filed for a person twelve years of age or older who has been adopted, a new birth certificate is to be established upon receipt of proof of adoption as required by the department. A new certificate shall be prepared in the name of the adopted person as decreed by the court, registering adopted parents' names. The new certificate shall be prepared on a delayed birth certificate form. The adoption decree is placed in a sealed file and shall not be subject to inspection except upon an order of the court.
Foreign Born Adoptions
Foreign born children adopted by Missouri residents can have a new birth certificate created for their child in one of two processes:
- Adoptive parents or applicable attorney can submit all required foreign born documents to the bureau, in which those documents become a permanent part of the record and a new foreign born Missouri birth certificate is created. This certificate does not serve as proof of citizenship.
The proof of adoption required by the Department shall include:
- a copy of the original birth certificate and adoption decree
- an English translation of such birth certificate and adoption decree; the authenticity of the translation of the birth certificate and adoption decree required shall be sworn to by the translator in a notarized document
- a copy of the approval of the immigration of the adopted person by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States government which shows the child lawfully entered the United States
- In addition to the above documentation, information regarding the adopted parents is necessary to establish the birth certificate. Complete the Request for Filing Birth Certificate as Result of Foreign Adoption and return to the Bureau of Vital Records for processing.
- Foreign born adoption recognized by a Missouri court of competent jurisdiction and then that court will forward the Certificate Decree of Adoption to vital records. This results in the creation of a traditional Missouri birth certificate.
Fees: $15.00 to process foreign born paperwork/CDA. Additional $15.00 for copy of new birth certificate upon submission of an Application for Missouri Vital Record. Make check or money order payable to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Correction affidavits are notarized legal documents used to correct errors contained in registered vital records. The correction affidavit process shall only be utilized to restore an item to its intended original value. Per 19 CSR 10-10, only specific individuals are authorized to make changes to vital records. Some items are related and correcting one item may require the correction of other related items. Also, correction affidavits require established supporting documentation. An established supporting document is one in which permanently maintained by an agency, organization, or business and is accessible for verification at a later date. The original certificate/office working copy of the birth, death, or fetal death shall have the correction entered on its face by interlineation with a line drawn through the incorrect entries. It shall be marked amended. The date of amendment and a summary description of the evidence submitted in support of the amendment shall be endorsed on or made part of the record.
Court orders are official rulings or judgements issued by a judge. Court orders pertaining to vital records can range from multiple topics including, but not limited to, establishing a birth, establishing a presumptive death, processing a legal name change, among other topics. When sending in a legal name change court order, the certified copy of the court order is required, along with the statutorily required fee, and a signed cover letter requesting the court order be applied to the applicable record. Also, when a correction affidavit cannot be utilized to correct a vital record, per 19 CSR 10-10, a certified court order from a court of competent jurisdiction will be necessary. The order shall identify the record(s) as presently filed with the Bureau of Vital Records, including full name and date of event, and direct the bureau as to the items to be changed.
If the mother marries the natural father after the birth of their child, a new legitimated birth certificate can be created. Both parents must complete affidavits to legitimate the birth record. Each affidavit must be notarized. A certified copy of the parents’ marriage license of marriage certification must be submitted along with the affidavits. Upon receipt of the completed notarized affidavits and certified copy of marriage license or certification, the Bureau of Vital Records will create a new certificate and the previous certificate will be sealed.
Submit the following:
- A notarized father’s affidavit to legitimate birth record completed and signed by the father of the child.
- A notarized mother’s affidavit to legitimate birth record completed and signed by the mother of the child.
- A certified copy of the marriage license or marriage certification.
- A $15.00 processing fee is required to legitimate a birth record and certified copies of the newly legitimated certificates are $15.00 each.
If mother is deceased, a notarized affidavit is required from one (1) of the mother’s parents or her brother or sister stating that s/he believes the man to be the father of the child based on an oral or written statement of the man. A certified copy of the mother’s death certificate is also required.
If alleged father is deceased, a notarized affidavit is required from one (1) of the alleged father’s parents or his brother or sister stating that s/he believes him to be the father of the child based on an oral or written statement of the man. A certified copy of the father’s death certificate is also required.
A certified copy of the marriage license or marriage certification may be obtained from the Recorder of Deeds in the county where the license was obtained. The certified copy will become part of the sealed file and cannot be returned.
Note: If the mother has been previously married, a certified copy of each marriage license or marriage certification must be furnished.
Return the above referenced forms, your check or money order, and a legal sized, self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Bureau of Vital Records
930 Wildwood Drive
Jefferson City, Missouri 65109
The Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity is a legal document. Please read the information provided below before completing an Affidavit. Following are the alternatives to completing the Affidavit and your legal rights and responsibilities. Before you complete an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity, you must receive oral (spoken) notice of the below information. If you are completing the Affidavit at the hospital when your child is born, you may receive oral notice from hospital staff. If you are completing the affidavit after the birth certificate has been filed, you may receive oral notice from the agency that gave you the form.
You may also receive oral notice by calling (toll free) 1-888-677-2083
- When both parents properly complete and sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity, the man’s name is added to the child’s birth certificate, and the man becomes the legal father of the child. Properly completed affidavits have the same effect as a court order establishing paternity and can be used as a basis for entering a child support order.
- If either of you is not sure that this man is the biological (natural) father of this child, you should not sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. You should have a genetic test. If the test shows at least a 98 percent probability that the man is the father, then Missouri law says he is the presumed father. A genetic test can be provided by the Family Support Division (FSD). Either of you may apply for this service by contacting FSD at https://dss.mo.gov/child-support/. If the genetic test shows that the man is the child’s biological father, you may then sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity.
- If either of you change your mind about acknowledging paternity after you have signed the Affidavit, you may sign a rescission form and file it with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Records (BVR) within the earlier of: 60 days from the date of the last signature on the Affidavits or the date of a proceeding to establish child support for the child on the Affidavits. Contact BVR at (573) 751-6387 or visit https://health.mo.gov/vitalrecords/ if you need a rescission form. When the rescission is filed, the man will no longer be the legal father; however, his name will stay on the birth certificate unless a court order tells BVR to remove his name.
- If it is more than 60 days after both of you sign the Affidavits or after the date of a child support proceeding, and you decide you want to prove this man is not the father, you must go to court. You must prove there was fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact when you signed the Affidavit.
- This child may have the right to receive benefits as the legal child of the man who signs an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. These benefits may include child support, medical insurance, inheritance rights, Social Security and Veteran’s benefits.
- Acknowledging paternity does not automatically give the father visitation or custody rights. Please seek legal advice regarding custody and visitation rights, or any other related legal matters.
Persons who knowingly supply false information on the Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity shall be guilty of a class E felony. Penalties under the criminal code range from imprisonment of 1-10 years and/or up to $5,000 in fines.
If you were married to a man at birth, conception, or anytime in between, but not to the father of the child, a Husband’s Denial of Paternity must also be submitted with the Mother’s and Father’s Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity.
What is a rescission form?
The Rescission of Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity is used to rescind the legal finding of paternity created by a previously completed Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. It must be filed with BVR within:
- 60 days from the date of the last signature of the Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity or
- The date of a proceeding to establish child support for the child on the Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity
This form may be completed only by the mother or alleged father in the presence of a notary public or two adult witnesses who are not related to either parent.
The rescission form does not remove father's information from birth record. The only way a father’s name can be removed from a registered certificate is by a court order.
Putative Father Registry
The Missouri Putative Father Registry allows a man to “officially” claim he is the father of a child. A man may want to do this before paternity is legally established if he cannot find the child’s mother or if the mother does not want to establish paternity for the child. The Putative Father Registry is used in adoption proceedings to identify the child’s father and promptly secure his consent to proceed with the adoption.
Who should register & how can the father be placed on the Registry?
A man who is not married to a child’s mother may acknowledge paternity by completing a Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity or by court order. A Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity must be notarized and mailed to the Putative Father Registry. A person who has filed a Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity may at any time revoke a Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity by submitting a rescission to the Bureau of Vital Records. An un-revoked Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity of a child may be introduced in evidence by any party, other than the person who filed such notice, in any proceeding in which such fact may be relevant.
The Notice of Intent must be filed prior to the birth or within 15 days of the child’s birth in order to be notified of an adoption proceeding for the child.
Failure to file in a timely manner shall waive a man’s right to withhold consent to an adoption proceeding unless:
- The person was led to believe through the mother’s misrepresentation or fraud that:
- The mother was not pregnant when in fact she was; or
- The pregnancy was terminated when in fact the baby was born; or,
- After the birth, the child died when in fact the child is alive; and,
The person upon the discovery of the misrepresentation or fraud satisfied the requirements within 15 days of that discovery.
Who can request a search of the Putative Father Registry?
A mother, father, court, caseworker, licensed child placing agency, or an intermediary such as attorney, physician, and clergyman, if representing the parents, can request a search of the putative father registry. A search can also be made by other family members if it is through the request of their attorney.
Learn more about the Putative Father Registry: Informational Brochure
Surrogacies are a method of assisted reproduction in which intended parents work, usually by contract, with a gestational surrogate who carries and cares for their baby until birth. The Bureau of Vital Records accepts post-birth court orders. The certified court order from a court of competent jurisdiction must list appropriate identifying information and include the listed parties, medical certifier, medical procedure performed.
A $15.00 processing fee is required to process a surrogacy court order and certified copies of birth certificates are $15.00 each.
Using an Electronic or Remote Online Notary
In Missouri, traditional, electronic, and remote online notarization (RON) of applications/documents, including correction affidavits, are accepted by the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records. The electronically notarized document must be mailed, and if necessary, along with applicable fees and documentation to the Bureau of Vital Records at 930 Wildwood Dr., Jefferson City, MO 65109.
While electronic and remote notarization is acceptable, other standard requirements still apply in completing the application process and the correction affidavit process. For more information on submitting electronic or remote notarizations, email: VitalRecordsInfo@health.mo.gov or call 573-751-6387.
- Any documentary evidence/legal documents submitted to the Bureau of Vital Records in an effort to correct/amend a vital record must be in English or be accompanied by an official translation of the document.