A child born out of wedlock is entitled to the same legal protection as a legitimate child. For example, a child born out of wedlock may not be denied the right to pursue a legal action for his or her mother’s wrongful death; or the right to seek support from his or her natural father; or the right to seek disability or other benefits that are available to legitimate children under the Social Security Act.
An illegitimate child must be treated the same as a legitimate child with regard to his/her rights of inheritance and intestate succession from both the mother and the father.
A minor child born out of wedlock has a right to support from both parents. If a man is determined to be the father, that child has the same right of support from its natural father as a legitimate child. The child’s right is independent of any right the child’s mother may have to seek child support. In addition, the mother and the father cannot contract away the right of the minor child to receive child support or release the father from his obligation to pay child support.
A minor child has an independent right to file an action for the determination of paternity. This right to bring suit extends for four years beyond his/her attaining the age of majority.
A child born to or conceived by married parents is presumed to be legitimate and the child of the Husband and Wife. This presumption of legitimacy protects the child’s interest and welfare. This presumption is not affected by the dissolution or annulment of the parent’s marriage or by the father’s death, if these events occur after conception. The presumption is however rebuttable under certain circumstances.
It may be helpful to discuss with an attorney the various issues in a paternity case including your questions concerning the rights of a minor child. Questions such as the amount of child support which can be received are questions which can best be answered by an attorney who practices in this area of the law.