Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Illegitimate Child Definition:

A child born out of wedlock

Related Terms: Child of the Marriage, Born Out of Wedlock, Bastard, Child, Legitimate Child, Paternity

Synonymous with bastard, as in a bastard child.

In State v Palmer, Justice Edward Scruggs of the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama used these words:

"An illegitimate child is a child born out of wedlock, or an illegitimate child may also be a child born in wedlock but sired by a man who was not the mother's husband."

Similarly, Kennelly v Davis in which Justice Boyd of the Supreme Court of Florida wrote:

"Children who are both conceived and born to mothers who are unmarried already have the status of illegitimacy at the time of birth.

"Children who are conceived during wedlock or born to their mothers while married are presumed to be legitimate."

Consider also these words of Justice Myers of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Martin v Martin:

"A child begotten out of wedlock is illegitimate even if that child is born after the marriage of the mother to a man other than the father."

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