Where a child’s or qualifying young person‘s parents are unmarried at the date of birth, and paternity has not been established by a court or by the adjudicating authority, the circumstances to be satisfied in section 77(2) of the Act or section 77(2) of the Northern Ireland Act are that the mother of the child is dead.
An adopted person is the legitimate child of the adopters and therefore is not illegitimate.
There is a common law presumption that any child born during a period of marriage is legitimate, even when the husband and wife are living apart by agreement. However, this presumption may be rebutted by evidence that shows, on the balance of probability, that the child or qualifying young person is illegitimate. It is not necessary to prove the fact beyond all reasonable doubt, but the onus of proof lies with the person who challenges the legitimacy of the child or qualifying young person.