Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45


child born parents legitimate

The legal status of a child at birth. A child is legitimate if born when its parents are validly married to each other, and the child is the biological issue of the couple, though most jurisdictions presume legitimacy where the child is born to a married woman living with her husband who is not impotent. A person born illegitimate may be legitimized by the subsequent marriage of his or her parents. In addition, an adopted child is regarded as the legitimate child of adoptive parents, as is a child born to a wife who has been artificially inseminated, provided that the husband has consented to this procedure. A person may, if it is appropriate, seek a court order of his or her legitimacy, but in practice there is now little legal difference between legitimate and illegitimate children.

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