The legal status of a child at birth refers to the marital status of its mother. "Legitimate" children are those whose parents are married. The birth is considered as being "outside marriage" (formerly "illegitimate") when this is not the case. A child born outside marriage whose mother then marries is said to be legitimised by marriage.
However, the distinction between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" no longer exists in France. The Order of 5 July 2005, which came into force in July 2006, removed these two obsolete notions from the Civil Code insofar as the rights of children born outside marriage are the same as those of children born to married couples.