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What is legitimation?

There are three situations in Alabama in which a child born out of wedlock may inherit from his/her intestate father, short of having been adopted by the father. Two of these situations regard legitimation. In the first, the child is “legitimated” by the marriage of the parents and recognition of the child by the father as his own. Such recognition must be unambiguous and clear in its character. In the second, the child is “legitmated” by the father’s written declaration, attested by two witnesses, which is filed in the office of the probate judge.

(Alabama State Law Institute)

Protocol for legitimations

  • If a father wishes to legitimate a child, he is required to file a notice of declaration of legitimation with the Probate Judge, in the county of his or the child’s residence.
  • The mother of the child must give consent.
  • The Probate Judge holds an informal hearing and an order granting or denying the legitimation is made


  • Probate Court cost for Legitimations: $ 36.00



Due to the complexity of laws and procedures of the Probate Court, we strongly suggest that you seek the advice of a licensed attorney.  The Probate Judge, Chief Clerk and Staff of the Probate Court are prohibited by law to offer any legal advice.