child

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child

n. 1) a person's natural offspring. 2) a person 14 years and under. A "child" should be distinguished from a "minor" who is anyone under 18 in almost all states.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

child

1 a young person. The law in either England and Scotland cannot be said to offer any single definition of the word. Various ages are defined as childhood, but all are under the age of majority, which is 18.
2 in wills and deeds, ‘child’ can refer to persons of any age. Normally ‘child’ will refer to issue in the first generation only, excluding grandchildren or remoter issue, but if the testator's intention can be interpreted as including descendants then the position maybe different.
3 throughout the UK for the purposes of child support, a qualifying child is a person under the age of 16 or under 19 and in full-time (but not advanced) education or under 18 in certain circumstances and a person who has not contracted a valid, void or annulled marriage. A qualifying child is one for which one or both parents is an absent parent.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CHILD, CHILDREN, domestic relations. A child is the son or daughter in relation to the father or mother.
     2. We will here consider the law, in general terms, as it relates to the condition, duties, and rights of children; and, afterwards, the extent which has been given to the word child or children by dispositions in wills and testaments.
     3.-1. Children born in lawful wedlock, or within a competent time afterwards, are presumed to be the issue of the father, and follow his condition; those born out of lawful wedlock, follow the condition of the mother. The father is bound to maintain his children and to educate them, and to protect them from injuries. Children are, on their part, bound to maintain their fathers and mothers, when in need, and they are of ability so to do. Poth. Du Marriage, n. 384, 389. The father in general is entitled to the custody of minor children, but, under certain circumstances, the mother will be entitled to them, when the father and mother have separated. 5 Binn. 520. Children are liable to the reasonable correction of their parents. Vide Correction
     4.-2. The term children does not ordinarily and properly speaking comprehend grandchildren, or issue generally; yet sometimes that meaning is, affixed to it, in cases of necessity; 6 Co. 16; and it has been held to signify the same as issue, in cases where the testator, by using the terms children and issue indiscriminately, showed his intention to use the former term in the sense of issue, so as to entitle grandchildren, & c., to take under it. 1 Ves. sen. 196; Ambl. 555; 3 Ves. 258; Ambl. 661; 3 Ves. & Bea. 69. When legally construed, the term children is confined to legitimate children. 7 Ves. 458. The civil code of Louisiana, art. 2522, n. 14, enacts, that "under the, name of children are comprehended, not only children of the first degree, but the grandchildren, great-grand-children, and all other descendants in the direct line."
     5. Children are divided into legitimate children, or those born in lawful wedlock; and natural or illegitimate children, who are born bastards. (q.v.) Vide Natural Children. Illegitimate children are incestuous bastards, or those which are not incestuous.
     6. Posthumous children are those who are born after the death of their fathers. Domat, Lois Civ. liv. prel. t. 2, s. 1, Sec. 7 L. 3, Sec. 1, ff de inj. rupt.
     7. In Pennsylvania, the will of their fathers, in, which no provision is made for them, is revoked, as far as regards them, by operation of law. 3 Binn. R. 498. See, as to the law of Virginia on this subject, 3 Munf. 20, and article In ventre sa mere. Vide, generally, 8 Vin. Ab. 318; 8 Com. Dig. 470; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.; 2 Kent, Com. 172; 4 Kent, Com. 408, 9; 1 Rop. on Leg. 45 to 76; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 442 Id. 158; Natural children.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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