There are several issues that are unique to unmarried couples with children, including the choice of naming their child. Though many couples may be able to agree on a surname, it is critical to understand South African law and how it applies to such problems if there is a problem.


The Constitutional Court recently ruled that unmarried fathers are now permitted to register their biological children using their surnames. The unmarried fathers have achieved a significant victory in this case as previously they were unable to register their children under the surname of the mother without her consent.

What Last Name Does a Baby Get If Parents Are Not Married?

In accordance with section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992, a child born out of wedlock will receive the mother’s surname. However, both parents may agree that the child will use the father’s surname. A father is no longer required to obtain the consent of the mother to register a baby under his or her name under the amended Births Act Regulations. 


In some cases, children were registered with surnames other than those of their biological fathers as a result of this change, which was argued to lead to human trafficking. A response to these concerns was provided by the Constitutional Court in stating that the Births Act and Regulations adequately safeguard against these concerns. Parents are required to provide identification, fingerprints, and other information during the registration process.


Nowadays, families do not follow a traditional structure. They can be structured in various ways. Doc Assist can assist you with the complex process of obtaining a birth certificate for your child from the Department of Home Affairs (abridged or unabridged). If you would like more information about our services, please contact Doc Assist today.


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