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Paternity Establishment

How Incarcerated Fathers Can Voluntarily Sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity

The father of my child is in jail or in prison. How do I get the acknowledgment of paternity signed for our baby’s birth certificate?

Here are the easy directions on how to get your baby’s dad on the birth certificate.

  1. Make sure you have signed the acknowledgement of paternity (AOP) and it is signed by a notary. The birth registrar/notary will notarize for free at the hospital, any time after you have the baby.
  2. Then have father sign the AOP through one of the options (a, b, or c) below:

(The father may sign the same AOP the mother signed or parents may submit two separate notarized AOP forms)

  1. Have birth registrar mail completed AOP to the jail or prison where the father is located. The AOP will include instructions for the notary and father.  The packet will include a return envelope that will go back to the hospital where you delivered baby.
  2. Mom can mail the AOP to the jail where the father is located with instructions to dad.
    1. Make sure to find out the name of the notary inside the facility and write his/her name on the envelope.
  3. Mom or her representative can take the AOP to the prison/jail and have dad sign it in front of a notary.

Notaries may contact the Virginia Paternity Establishment Program with questions at 804-285-5826.


If you choose to mail the AOP on your own, below is a sample of what the address on the envelope should like. You are encouraged to include a stamped envelope that has the return address of the hospital where you had baby to make the mailing process easier.

The completed AOP packet should include:

  1. Money order for $22, made out to The State Health Department ($10 fee for the amendment and a $12 fee for a copy of the birth certificate with the father’s name added)
  2. Your notarized AOP
  3. The father’s notarized AOP
  4. or one notarized AOP if parents completed the same form

You are encouraged to get the completed packet back to the birth registrar’s department at the hospital where you had baby OR you can send the packet to the Virginia Paternity Establishment Program.

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