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French cabinet alters status of "illegitimate" children

[JURIST] In an unusual move sidestepping parliament, the French Cabinet Monday removed the legal difference between "legitimate" children, born to married parents, and "natural" children, born to unmarried parents. The distinction had been established in the original 1804 French Napoleonic code. In the future, as opposed to having to specially register as a new parent, unmarried mothers will automatically be recognized as the mothers of formerly "illegitimate" offspring. Unmarried fathers will still have to register with authorities at city hall. Almost 50% of French children in 2004 were born to unmarried couples, up sharply from 11.4% in 1980. The law will take effect on July 1, 2006. AP has more. From Paris, Le Figaro provides local coverage.

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