Effect of Annulment of Marriage by a Decree of Nullity on Children Begotten before the Decree?

If this is proved, the child is illegitimate and cannot claim a right of inheritance either to the husband of its mother or the putative father. This was so even before the Act. Suppose a woman marries but the marriage is void on account of a legal requirement, e.g., the requirement as to absence of Sapinda relationship.

The marriage is void and before the Act the issue would be illegitimate with consequential disability in regard inheritance to the father. After the Act the marriage can be annulled by a decree of nullity. When this is done the effect of the decree is to declare that the marriage has been void ab intio.

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The issue of the marriage would have been illegitimate. But the Act says that this should not be so. By a fiction it would be imagined that the decree is one of dissolution of marriage, i.e. divorce. In case of divorce the issue begotten during the marriage would be legitimate. Though the decree granted is one of nullity of marriage such issue would be treated as legitimate. This is done, however, for the limited purpose of enabling the issue to inherit to the parents.

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