Thursday, January 17, 2013

Illegitimacy - born out of wedlock - Paternity- Your legal Rights

Children born to parents not married to each other were once called illegitimate and are still defined as such under law. The law once tended to to treat illegitimate children as second class citizens partly because of the society's belief that marriage is sacrosanct. Today however illegitimate children are entitled to the same legal rights as legitimate offspring.

The following presumptions carry force of law.

1. Every person is considered legitimate until facts demonstrate otherwise.

2. Children born to a married woman are presumed to be the children of her husband and are therefore legitimate even if the child was conceived before marriage.

3. Children conceived during a marriage but born after its termination i.e. divorce are presumed to be legitimate children of the husband.

The reasons someone may want to prove a child's paternity are many but the most common is to make the father financially accountable. Acknowledgement of paternity imposes a duty of support on the father and gives him visitation and custody rights. It also gives an illegitimate child the same status as a legitimate child.

Many states have adopted the Uniform Parentage Act, which outlines procedures for establishing paternity and enforcing support. If a father takes no voluntary action to legitimize his child or disputes paternity, there are legal ways of establishing paternity which are provided under the aforesaid act.

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