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:
- 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.
- Child must be under 18 at time of legitimation.
- Legal custody with father at time of legitimation.
- 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.