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Children Born Out of Wedlock

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Children who are born outside of marriage are declared as illegitimate on their birth certificates under Indonesia's 1974 marriage law. In Indonesian the term illegitimate is known as “Anak Luar Kawin” referring to the child born outside the marriage of the two parents. As such, these children do not have any legal claim against their biological fathers, as the identity of the father is not noted on the birth certificate. This article will hopefully be useful for parents who are experiencing legal problems with their children born out of wedlock in Indonesia and wish to obtain legal recognition for their children.


An “out of wedlock” child is a child born outside of a marriage between the woman who is giving birth to the child with a man who caused her pregnancy. The legal parentage of the child may or may not be admitted by the father.

Parentage Acknowledged by the Father

A child born out of wedlock shall have civil law relations only with his/her mother. The child does not automatically have a legal parental relationship with the father. To establish that legal relationship with the father, Indonesian law requires an admission, referred to as “pengakuan”, where the father admits that the child is in fact his child. The out of wedlock child already has a civil law relationship with the mother who is giving birth to the child. This grants a family relationship, with its legal consequences including inheritance rights, to the mother of the child (only). An admission of parentage by the father will not create a family relationship between the child with his/her father’s family.

Out of Wedlock Legalization

Legalization is the next step towards recognizing parentage of an out of wedlock child. The father that intends to legalize the child’s birth must legally marry the child’s mother. The legalization will grant family relationship between the child with her/his parent’s and their families that have acknowledged the child’s parentage.

Recorded at Civil Registry Office

The admission of out of wedlock child is not a hush-hush proceeding. It should be registered with the Civil Registry by recording the child’s birth in the birth certificate registry or into the parent’s marriage certificates (which will then grant legalization) or in a separate deed of civil registry or even written in a notary deed.

Once the parents are legally married and the birth is registered at the Civil Registry office, the child’s parentage is legally recognized by the Indonesian government. A new birth certificate, issued by the civil registry office, will have the father’s name on it.

Our thanks to Asep A. Wijaya, Managing Director of Wijaya and Co for sharing this information with the community!

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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