I was recently retained by a family to file a lawsuit to compel the State of New Jersey to amend their child’s birth certificate. This was a most unusual request. The child, a New Jersey college athlete, wished to establish dual citizenship with his country of origin in order to be eligible to try out for their national team. The country of origin rejected the initial application because the name of the birth mother on her national ID card did not match her name on her son’s birth certificate. The birth certificate would need to be amended.
The family first approached the municipality which issued the certificate. They were advised that because the mother had previously amended the birth certificate to correct a typographical error in the spelling of her name, the State of New Jersey would not permit a further amendment without a court order. I confirmed as much with the municipality.
I then contacted the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry in the New Jersey Department of Health which insisted that I would have to file a lawsuit against the State simply to add the mother’s additional surname to her son’s birth certificate. Because the son’s national team tryout was imminent, we decided to proceed by way of order to show cause to obtain a summary adjudication of the matter.
Shortly after I filed the lawsuit and served the State but before the hearing date, I was contacted by the Attorney General’s office which indicated that the Office of Vital Statistics and Registry would permit the family to obtain the amended birth certificate simply by filling out a form and submitting it to the State. I did complete the form and overnighted it to the State. A few days later, I received the amended birth certificate. We cancelled the show cause hearing and dismissed the lawsuit.
It was gratifying to see the State change its initial position and accommodate this family in need.