by Elizabeth R. Blandon

The laws for children who are born to married parents are different than the laws for children whose parents were not married when they were born.

A father can petition a child legally legitimated before 18 if in custody of the father at time of legitimation. In this case, a valid parent-child relationship does not need to exist.

Legitimation is the act of putting a child born out-of-wedlock in the same legal position as a child born in wedlock. If the law of the country is that there is no distinction between children born in wedlock or out-of-wedlock if the parent recognizes the child, the father’s petition should be granted.

There are four requirements:

  1. The action to legitimate the child must be under the law of the child’s residence or under the law of the father’s residence.
  2. Child must be under 18 at time of legitimation.
  3. Legal custody with father at time of legitimation.
  4. Natural child of father, which can be proven with DNA test.

There are several methods of legitimating, which include the subsequent marriage of the parents, a judicial decree, or a formal recognition of paternity. For example, acknowledgment on a birth certificate may be a form of legitimation if there is no contrary evidence.

Likewise, even if there is no action of legitimation, the father can also sponsor the child if a valid parent-child relationship exists and can be demonstrated.