Until 2006, a child born out of marriage could be legitimised by the marriage of its biological parents. A child born out of marriage and not recognised by its biological father could also be legitimised by the marriage of its mother to a man who was not its biological father, if the latter had recognised the child before the marriage. Likewise, a child could be legitimised by the marriage of its father to a woman who was not its mother, if the latter had adopted it before the marriage and if the child was under 15 years old.
However, the distinction between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children no longer exists in France. The Order of 5 July 2005, which came into force in July 2006, deleted these two obsolete notions from the Civil Code insofar as the rights of children born out of marriage are the same as those born to married couples.