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legitimation,act of giving the status of legitimacy to a child whose parents were not married at the time the child was born. This is generally accomplished by the subsequent marriage of the parents. Under the common law, legitimation by this process was not allowed, although that rule came under the displeasure of the church. It was not until 1926 that a statute was passed in England allowing legitimation by subsequent marriage. In the United States, legitimation by subsequent marriage is the general rule. In some states there are, moreover, special judicial proceedings for the legitimation of a child. In other states one or both of the parents may adopt the child. See bastardbastard,
person born out of wedlock whose legal status is illegitimacy. In civil law countries and in about half the states of the United States, the union of the parents in marriage after birth makes the child legitimate.
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legitimationthe manner and the process in which a STATE or POLITICAL SYSTEM receives justification. See LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY, LEGITIMATION CRISIS.
(1) In bourgeois states that do not have a passport system legitimation is a way of establishing a citizen’s identity. On the request of competent authorities, a citizen is required to produce identification documents.
(2) In bourgeois civil law, legitimation is proof of a citizen’s right to receive payment or to perform an action, for example, a license to use a patent.