An illegitimate child is one born out of lawful wedlock in Cameroon. Child recognition in Cameroon is the legal bridge through which a child born out of wedlock acquires the status of a legitimate child.

Child recognition in Cameroon otherwise known as child legitimation is the legal action which grants parental rights to the biological father of a child born out of wedlock.

In accordance with section 46 of the civil status registration ordinance of 1961, the search for the real father in Cameroon can be illustrated as follows;

  • The mother of a minor or a person of full age may, through application before a competent court, bring action for the search of the real father.
  • However, any action in search of the real father shall be rejected if during the legal period of conception, the mother led a loose life or had intercourse with another man or if the alleged father was physically unfit to be the father.
  • Under pain of foreclosure, action in search of the real father shall be taken by:
    1. The mother within two (2) years from the date of delivery or when the father ceases to maintain the child
    2. The child of full age, within one (1) year from the date of his majority.
  • Judgments relating to the search for the real father shall be entered in the margin of birth certificates.
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