#TheLegalMomma: Love Child: Legitimizing a Child after Marriage

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 first year in law school just ended 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 means civil rites, for the baby’s sake. My open-minded mom on the other hand is not into the idea of getting married kasi nabuntis. 

Of course, we still had it our way. We didn’t get married just because I got pregnant, which means our baby is illegitimate. I didn’t worry too much since we will get married eventually and there are no, if I may use it, legal impediments along the way. We are both unmarried, had no previous marriage and no children outside of the relationship so no problem with that. Plus, 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, s/he can use his surname.

Then I got pregnant again with Baby No. 2, also recognized by my now husband. My dad once again brought up the topic of marriage since being the segurista one, he wants to make sure that his grandchildren are in good hands in case something happened to my then-boyfriend. 

To appease him and for many legal reasons, we finally got married in a civil rites. This means from being illegitimate children, my kids are now legitimated. The question now is what happens after this? Also, what does “legitimated” means? Legitimation 1Legitimate vs. Illegitimate vs. Legitimated

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 is 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, s/he is required to use the mother’s surname unless the child was expressly recognized by the father according to the Revilla amendment. 

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. Legitimation 2Lastly, a child is legitimated when a valid marriage between the biological parents took 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.
  • There is valid marriage after the child’s birth. 

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 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 is a legitimate one from the beginning.

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?

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, had 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, s/he may use it although the family name written on the birth certificate won’t be deleted. 

I’m not sure if the Affidavit of Legitimation is necessary because nowhere in the Family Code will you see this requirement. But for purposes of compliance and to avoid any issues in the future, it best to submit one. 

I hope this post helps. 


  1. Jackie Park

    April 12, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    I found this a very interesting read. I like that you had so much details and really listed the steps to take to legitimize a child. I’m not in the same situation but still, it was nice to know this. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Ayi

      April 13, 2015 at 12:52 am

      Glad you found the post helpful and interesting. Thanks for dropping by! πŸ™‚

  2. deereeyah

    April 13, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Its nice to know the diff! I can basically lead friends to your blog with a situation like yours for info and clarification. Thanks for this

    1. Ayi

      April 13, 2015 at 4:11 am

      No problem. I’m glad you found the post useful πŸ™‚

  3. Fully Housewifed! (@fullyhousewifed)

    April 13, 2015 at 5:08 am

    This is a good and helpful post, especially for those who are planning to get married and are wondering about the rights of their children. I’m familiar with this as my father and my brother are both lawyers.I suggest you write a post on the process on husbands adopting children of their spouses with previous partners as this is one of the issues I hear about nowadays. I’m sure many will benefit from it as much as they benefit from this post.

    1. Ayi

      April 13, 2015 at 7:40 am

      Thanks Mommy May πŸ™‚ I have to dig through my notes first to make sure I write the right things :))

  4. ceemee

    April 13, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Yes, useful for parents who are in the same boat as you. I agree it’s better to comply with the Affidavit of Legitimation than to have problems in the future, like when your kids get married or apply for legal documents.

    1. Ayi

      April 13, 2015 at 7:41 am

      Actually, for me, it’s not a requirement. Kasi legitimation is automatic. For us, we’ll just comply nalang din kasi ayoko ng problems in the future.

  5. Sherlane

    April 13, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Very informative. Will forward your post to my brother because he need this information.

    1. Ayi

      April 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  6. katjrod

    April 13, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Informative post, very helpful for someone in the same situation as yours. A friend just asked me about this a few weeks ago, ano daw ba ginawa nung sis ko, di ko naman nasagot at iba sila ng situation, sabi ko igoogle mo na lang, haha. Sobrang tsamba ang timing at nabasa ko to, haha, my friend is getting married in November, and her baby is already 2 months old now, good to know na wala naman pala ganong gagawin. Thank you for this.

    1. Ayi

      April 13, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Yes, since automatic naman as long as valid ang marriage nila πŸ™‚

  7. Michelle Solee (@michisolee)

    April 13, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Very helpful post. Matrabaho pala ang pagprocess, then hindi mapapalitan surname “If the child is not using the father’s surname, s/he may use it although the family name written on the birth certificate won’t be deleted. “

  8. Mommy Anna

    April 14, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Your post is very helpful will share this one to my friend who has the same situation as yours πŸ™‚

    1. Ayi

      April 14, 2015 at 5:49 am

      Thank you mommy Anna πŸ™‚

  9. Maan

    April 14, 2015 at 2:13 am

    This really helps, Ayi. My son is still currently illegitimate as his dad and I are not yet married. However, I also did some research about legitimizing and found out it’s not as hard as it sounds especially if it involves the biological dad talaga.

    1. Ayi

      April 14, 2015 at 3:27 am

      Yes, especially if your son is recognized and carries his dad’s surname πŸ™‚ I’m glad you found it helpful πŸ™‚

  10. thedreamermom

    April 14, 2015 at 3:15 am

    It’s new info for me haha. I didn’t know there is ‘legitimated’. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayi

      April 14, 2015 at 5:49 am

      Yes, there is such a term πŸ™‚ Basta pag law, maraming naiimbento na words :))

  11. rinabee

    April 14, 2015 at 5:17 am

    very informative post, I’m sure a lot of people will find this helpful! and yes, a pregnancy by itself is not sufficient reason for getting married, and it’s good that the law protects the children either way.

    1. Ayi

      April 14, 2015 at 5:51 am

      It’s not the child’s fault naman. Why should they suffer diba? Thanks for dropping by!

  12. Cheanne

    April 14, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I have a friend who will find this very helpful should she and her partner decide to get married someday. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayi

      April 15, 2015 at 1:17 am

      I just realized, there are a lot of people who are in the same situation as mine. Hehe

  13. Celerhina Aubrey

    April 16, 2015 at 5:09 am

    A very nice post. Me and my boyfriend is not yet married too. My daughter, also recognized by my boyfriend, carry my last name. So after getting married with the boyfriend, we still have to change her last name. Hehehe!

    1. Ayi

      April 16, 2015 at 9:11 am

      Your daughter can’t change her surname in the birth certificate but after you get married, your daughter can use his surname na πŸ™‚ As long as you comply with the Affidavit of Legitimation para walang problema πŸ™‚

  14. May Castillo

    April 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Recommending your post to friends with same situation as yours. Very helpful and informative indeed!

    1. Ayi

      April 19, 2015 at 5:07 am

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  15. Mommy Levy

    April 21, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Wow I learned a lot. I’ll recommend this post to a friend.

    1. Ayi

      April 21, 2015 at 1:20 am

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  16. Krisna

    April 28, 2015 at 12:54 am

    This is a very helpful post, sis. Share ko ito sa mga friends ko with kids na hindi pa nakakapagpakasal. Thanks for sharing.

    PS: Pareho kami ng thoughts ni mama mo. I told myself before na hindi rin ako magpapakasal just because nabuntis ako. Buti na lang magaling ex-boyfriend ko (aka my husband) kaya kahit more more kembotan kami noon wala pang nabuo na baby. 1 year after we got married saka ako nabuntis. Hehehe!

    1. Ayi

      April 29, 2015 at 2:39 am

      Hahaha! Natawa naman ako sa comment mo mommy πŸ™‚

      Ang bottom line, be safe πŸ™‚

  17. Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!

    May 6, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Hi, Ayi. This is something new to me. We are also in the same situation – my daughter also uses her dad’s surname (we would have not kasi my partner didn’t really know his dad – I didn’t want to use an unknown person’s name pero buti nalang I gave in to avoid legal complications in the future din). Just good to know this kind of information although the partner and I have no immediate plans of getting married yet. Medyo rebellious kasi yung thinking ko. Hahaha.

    1. Ayi

      May 6, 2015 at 4:30 am

      As long as your daughter is recognized, I think there will be no problem naman πŸ™‚ Nako, I don’t want to get married too kasi I want it to be a memorable experience. But because of legal implications and my dad’s constant pangungulit, I gave in. Protection narin kasi ng kids πŸ™‚

      1. Jason

        July 10, 2015 at 3:16 am

        I’m glad I found this. You all were very helpful but I’m still lost. My child is due 3 weeks and I’m not married yet which is my fault, but besides that I’m concered if the love of my life… The mother of my child ever decides to leave, then what wrights do I have. It seems like not many and when we marry after the child I will still have to go through the same process. I love my unborn child and I always want to be there for it!!!!

        1. Ayi

          July 10, 2015 at 5:35 am

          Hi Jason,

          Thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚ Regarding your concern, you definitely have a right on your still unborn child especially when you recognize the child and allow him/her to use your surname under he Revilla amendment. As to your concern on the rights in case your partner leaves, you could request for visitation rights since by law, the child below 7 stays with the mother unless you could prove that she is not capable of raising your child and providing a better future. You could also offer support. In case you and your partner decide to marry, the legitimation is automatic, though you have to file an Affidavit of Legitimation to formalize the process.

          I hope everything goes well between you and your partner πŸ™‚ You could message me on my Facebook account – facebook.com/TheMommaChronicles if you have other concerns πŸ™‚

  18. echo

    November 21, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Hi, i found this post while surfing the net. Can i ask question about LEGITIMIZATION? i am here in the US. my son’s birth certificate in the philippines says he is ILLEGITIMATE. How can i fix this without going back home. I mean i can sign all the documents that needed to fix this. can i fix this without going home? thanks

    1. Ayi

      November 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Echo! Thanks for dropping by the blog πŸ™‚

      You can only legitimize your son if you are married to his mother and with no legal impediments surrounding the marriage. You can just execute an affidavit of legitimation in the Philippine Embassy and have the documents sent here πŸ™‚ It would be a different case if you are not married with your son’s mother.

      Hope this helps πŸ™‚

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