How to legitimize an illegitimate child after marriage

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Mommy blogger and mompreneur Ayi Dela Cruz shares what she had to do to change her child's status from "illegitimate child" to "legitimated" after she and her child's father got married.

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I have a confession to make: I got pregnant before I was married to my then-boyfriend, now-husband. It was summer of 2011 and I had just finished my first year in law school when I found out I had a bun in the oven. Obviously, my parents weren’t very happy about it. My (sort of) conservative dad wanted us to get married, even if it meant civil rites, for the baby’s sake. My open-minded mom, on the other hand, was not keen of the idea of getting married kasi nabuntis. 

Ultimately, we didn’t get married but as a result, our baby was “illegitimate.” I didn’t worry too much though since I knew we’d eventually get married and because my daughter was recognized under Republic Act 9255, also known as Revilla amendment (yes, as in the Ramon Revilla Sr. so you get the picture). The amendment states that as long as the father recognized the child, the child may use the father’s surname.

Then I got pregnant with Baby No. 2, who was also recognized by my now-husband. My dad once again brought up the topic of marriage – which to appease him and for legal reasons – we finally gave into. After our civil wedding, not only had we become husband and wife, but more importantly our children could now change their status from “illegitimate” to “legitimated.”

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What’s the difference: Legitimate, Legitimated and Illegitimate child

Article 164 of the Family Code defines “Legitimate child” as someone conceived or born during a valid marriage. Even if your marriage is annulled, any child born prior to judgment of annulment or absolute nullity of marriage is still a legitimate child.

On the other hand, an “Illegitimate child” is someone who was conceived and born outside of a valid marriage. This means the child is a product of a common law marriage (there is still no legal marriage in this), bigamous or relationships, incestuous marriage, couples below 18 or any other types of void marriages provided for by the Family Code. When a child is illegitimate, he is required to use the mother’s surname unless the child was expressly recognized by the fatheraccording to Republic Act 9255.

When a child is recognized, there will be an annotation on the child’s birth certificate that states, “Acknowledged by Father pursuant to RA 9255.” Then on the second page, both parents must sign the Affidavit of Acknowledgement/Admission of Paternity as shown below:

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Lastly, a child is “legitimated” when a valid marriage between the biological parents takes place after the child is born. To qualify for legitimation, the following requirements must be complied with:

  • the child is illegitimate,
  • at the time of conception, the child’s parents are not disqualified from marrying each other or were not allowed to get married because both are below 18 years old, and
  • there is valid marriage after the child’s birth.

Click Continue Reading for more on legitimizing an illegitimate child. 

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Understanding Legitimation

According to Article 177 of the Family Code, “Only children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated.”

This means that after the marriage, the illegitimate child automatically becomes legitimated and shall enjoy the same rights as legitimate children pursuant to Article 179 of the Family Code. Take note that the operative word here is “automatic.”

Also, the effects of legitimation is retroactive at the time of the child’s birth, which means it’s as if your child was legitimate from the start.

The next question now is, what happens after the marriage? Is there anything that needs to be done to make sure that the legitimated child enjoys the benefits of legitimate children?

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For me, this is a gray area. I was privileged to take up Family Law under Atty. Katrina Legarda during my first year. From what I remember during our discussions about Paternity and Filiation, legitimation happens automatically upon marriage of parents. In fact, the Family Code does not require you to do anything to ensure legitimation – as long as you get married, have no legal impediments at the time of the child’s birth and such marriage is valid.

Come to think of it. Why pose a burden on a child’s status when there is valid marriage between the parents, even if the marriage was after birth, right? It’s not the child’s fault anyway.

However, the National Statistics Office requires the parents to execute an Affidavit of Legitimation, which must be registered in the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where the birth was recorded. It should contain the following:

  • Names of the parents
  • State the fact that the parents were free to contract marriage at the time of conception and had subsequently contracted a valid marriage
  • Date and place of subsequent marriage, including the city or municipality where the marriage is recorded
  • Name/s of the child to be legitimated, and date and place where the birth was recorded
  • Manner as to how the child/ren was acknowledged. This could be through RA 9255 as shown in the birth certificate, a statement before a court of record, will or any authentic document.

Once you submit the Affidavit of Legitimation in the city or municipality where the child’s birth was recorded, the fact of legitimation will be annotated on the child’s birth certificate. If the child is not using the father’s surname,  may use it although the family name written on the birth certificate won’t be deleted.

Article republished with permission from: themommachronicles

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