RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It seems like a simple decision, but adding a father's name to a child's birth certificate can be a complex choice for some mothers.
Now, a Virginia campaign to "Add the Dad" says it doesn't have to be a difficult decision. While it's simple for some families where the mother and father are happily married, the issue gets complicated, if you're a single mother worried about custody problems or worried about any benefits you might be getting being impacted by this choice.
"We do have a lot of parents, both moms and dads, who have concerns about custody," said Michelle Wills with the Virginia Paternity Establishment. "Although it's true that would be the first step, adding the dad is not going to start child custody cases. It is not going to open the door for visitation and it is not going to start child support unless either party takes those next steps."
Either parent can open a child support case regardless of whether this form is completed or not. It will not change your benefits and it will not change custody, which that is also a legal proceeding. The Virginia Paternity Establishment officials say it will give your child information that could be useful in many ways, including emotional support, and information for a medical diagnosis.
"They at least have the father's information to where they can sort of dig and find out, 'Well, what was going on in his family that was causing the problem with me?'" said Wills.
You can add a dad to your child's birth certificate up until he or she is 18 years old.
Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.