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Children's Law

Birth and Death Certificates

The Arkansas Department of Health is permitted to amend birth and death certificates in certain circumstances and with appropriate documentation.  Some alterations require a court order, while more minor alternations usually do not.  Because of this, the Arkansas Department of Health must evaluate each request to determine what is and is not required.  

Common alterations that require a court order include:

  • Creating a new birth certificate after a child has been adopted;
  • Adding a child’s natural father to the child’s birth certificate or changing the father listed on a birth certificate;
  • Changes in surname; 
  • Changes in name and sex on a birth certificate; and
  • Surrogate motherhood.

Birth Certificate Changes

For example, if you have changed your legal name through the courts and wish to have that change reflected on your birth certificate, you will need to provide the Department of Health with a copy of the court order that changed your name. Similarly, if you are someone who is transitioning from your assigned-at-birth sex, you will need a court order stating that the sex on your birth certificate is to be amended.  Under Arkansas law, in order to have that change made, you will need to provide the court proof from your doctor that you have undergone a surgical procedure related to your transition.  This is usually done via a letter from your doctor on that doctor’s official letterhead.  Often times, those who are transitioning from their assigned-at-birth sex will petition the court to change their name and sex at the same time.  That way, they can provide the Department of Health one order that covers all the changes they wish to make to their birth certificate.

If you or your child’s birth certificate has minor clerical issues, such as a misspelled name, you may request those be altered without a court order.  Often, these types of changes are made by a minor child’s parents after realizing there is a clerical error on their child’s birth certificate.  In the event the child is less than one year old, you should contact the hospital where your child was born and notify them of the issue.  The hospital should then provide an affidavit for correction to the Department of Health to have the certificate amended.  If your child is over one year old, then you will have to contact the Department of Health directly.

Death Certificate Changes

Death certificates are often amended due to minor errors like this, such as the time or date of death.  Those should not require a court order, but you will likely need to provide the Department of Health some sort of proof of the error (ex. Hospital records indicating the date of death was something other than what is listed on the death certificate).  However, some alterations to death certificates may require a court order.  One example is if the deceased person did in fact change their name through a court order, but the death certificate reflects their birth name.  In that instance, whoever is wanting to amend that will need a copy of the court order that changed the deceased person’s name.  The general rule, however, is that fixing minor clerical errors does not require a court order whereas amending information such as names and sexes on a certificate does require a court order.


If you wish to amend a birth or death certificate, you will have to pay a fee of $15.00.  This is in addition to the cost for replacement certificates - $12.00 for the first copy of a birth certificate and $10.00 for each additional copy, and $10.00 for the first copy of a death certificate and $8.00 for each additional copy.  


Please refer any questions regarding amendments to birth and death records to the Arkansas Department of Health at 501-682-1214 or

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm, with the exception of state holidays, when the office is closed.