Several issues are unique to unmarried couples who have children, including what surname to give their child. Many couples may be able to come to an agreement on a surname, but if there is a problem, it’s important to understand South African law and how it applies to such problems.


Unmarried fathers have now been able to register their biological children under their surname thanks to a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court. Previously, unmarried fathers were unable to register their children using their surnames without the mother’s consent. Unmarried fathers have achieved a significant victory in this case.

What Last Name Does a Baby Get If Not Married?

A child born out of wedlock should have the mother’s surname under section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992. The child may, however, have the father’s surname if both parents agree. According to the new Births Act Regulations, a father does not have to obtain the mother’s consent in order to register a baby under his or her surname. 


This change was argued to lead to human trafficking or instances where children were registered with surnames other than their biological fathers. In response to these concerns, the Constitutional Court stated that there are enough safeguards against these concerns in the Births Act and its Regulations. As part of the registration process, parents are required to provide identification documents, fingerprints, and other information.


We live in a world where families no longer follow a traditional structure. Nowadays, they come in all shapes and sizes. Doc Assist can assist you with the difficult process of getting a child’s birth certificate (abridged or unabridged) from the Department of Home Affairs. Get in touch with Doc Assist today to learn more about our services.


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