Legitimacy and Illegitimacy of the Child

By | May 18, 2011

Q. My common law partner and I are having a child here in Canada this November and I would just like to know if our child will be illegitimate in the Philippines since the country doesn’t recognize the common law status.

If the child will be considered as illegitimate back home, then what documents should we have in order for the child to be recognized as legitimate?

My husband (common law) and I don’t intend on getting married yet here and when we do, it will be in the Philippines much later on.

I have dual citizenship. I have a Canadian as well as a Filipino citizenship. The reason for my being Canadian is that my Mother (full Canadian) obtained it for me when I was a little girl back in Philippines.

My father was a Filipino at the time of my birth. And was born in Quezon City. My common-law husband is a landed immigrant from Manila.

Hoping to hear from you soon for my peace of mind. Thank you. Linda.


You don’t have to be seriously concerned with the status of your child as “legitimate” or “illegitimate”. In the first place, as you said, you are Canadian. Thus it follows that your child is also Canadian.

And considering that the child will be born it Canada , as the fact of his or her birth will be registered here in Canada and not in the Philippines, the stigma of being illegitimate will not be reflected in the birth certificate , as
as Common Law relations is recognized in Canada.

Interestingly, under the laws of the Philippines, the Child is also a Filipino citizen being a child of parents who have Filipino citizenship. Just like in your case, your child will have also a dual citizenship by birth and not by choice.

The confusion lies as the issue of citizenship and the legitimacy of an individual is mixed -up all together. They are different legal matters as far the laws of Canada and the Philippines are concerned.

As regards the Philippine laws, the reference of the child’s status as legitimate or illegitimate is reflected only in the birth certificate based on the status of the parents whether the couple was married at the time of the birth of the Child. If the parents are married. Then the child is considered legitimate.

Even given the fact that the Child is also Filipino and therefore, Philippine laws are applicable to the child as well. And for having been born out of wedlock, the child can be considered as “illegitimate”. While this may be true, but such classification under the Family Code of the Philippines, may be corrected later on, by means of “legitimization”.

This means that the status of the child as an illegitimate can be changed by operation of law, to a “legitimate” child reckon from the child’s birth, upon the subsequent marriage of the parents. Thus, if you and your common-law partner intend to marry in the Philippines in the future after the birth of your child, the principle of “legitimization” is applicable and the child shall be considered as a “Legitimate” child.

This corner understands your concerns over the legitimacy or illegitimacy issue of your child. This so because under the laws of the Philippines, the status of legitimacy of a child is important. An illegitimate child has lesser rights compared to that of being legitimate. For instance, in the matter of inheritance, an illegitimate child is entitled only to one-half of the inheritance of a legitimate child.

An illegitimate child, unless with the written consent of the father, cannot use the surname of the father. Furthermore, an illegitimate child follows the citizenship of the mother. As regards the issue of citizenship, under the Philippine constitution, and following the principle of “jus sanguines” , a child is considered Filipino citizen if he or she is born with a Filipino mother or father at the time of birth regardless of the child’s place of birth.

I hope you will find the foregoing in order. Thank you for writing.