Back in the 1990s in Chile, the law separating legitimate and illegitimate children was abolished and all children started to have the same rights. I'm not sure, but I think the term "illegimitate" was remove from the law altogether.

Of course, this wreaked havoc at first since many "hidden children" had rights to be visited and were allowed access to a range of rights overnight. Most official wives knew about the existence of those "children on the side" but preferred to ignore and shun them, and to keep them away from any rights. Well... it took a few months (maybe more), but finally all was normalized and accepted.

Now, I was surprised to learn that in many countries this difference still exists. Of course, this is only my ignorance speaking. I should have known better.

How can I find out in which countries does this difference still exist? Is there any map that clearly shows which ones implement it (and to what degree) and which ones do not?

  • 1
    Where did you "learn that in many countries this difference still exists"? This information may assist with researching an answer
    – user35069
    Aug 1, 2022 at 15:13
  • Westeros does it a lot
    – Taladris
    Aug 1, 2022 at 23:55

1 Answer 1


You can look here for various sources on the legal status of children born "out of wedlock", however most of that discussion is focused on European legal systems. This page states what the situation is under Islamic law (the majority view seems to be that the child is "the child of no-one"). This article specifically compares illegitimate children in Iran vs. England, indicating that Iran follows the majority interpretation.

Indian law is complicated because of the various sub-varieties of family law – Muslims follow Muslim family law, Hindus follow Hindu family law, and so on. Here is a brief summary of Indian law. One point to be taken from this is that there is a difference between the status of a child whose parents are in a void or voidable marriage, vs. no marriage at all. Kenya likewise has more than one kind of family law, plus a constitutional change. So see this case which relies on an older tradition that if a man and woman have a child but don't get married, the child is not legally the child of the man, but also see the Constitution of 2010 Art 27(4)

The State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth.

and especially Art 53 (1e) where every child has the right

to parental care and protection, which includes equal responsibility of the mother and father to provide for the child, whether they are married to each other or not.

  • Thank you. It seems it's much more complicated than I envisioned. It's full of special cases. Aug 1, 2022 at 16:32
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    @JoeDiNottra There are even special cases in U.S. law. Usually, there is no distinction as a matter of constitutional law, but distinctions related to proof of citizenship for people born outside the U.S. with a U.S. father and a non-U.S. mother who are not married are different than if they are married.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 1, 2022 at 19:57
  • 1
    In some US states a child born to a married woman during the marriage is considered the legal child of the woman and her husband, regardless of whether the husband is the genetic father or not. Aug 1, 2022 at 22:50

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