Ideally, a couple would fall in love, marry, and have a child. Historically, this has not always been the case. History has shown that children have been conceived out of wedlock, which has become more prevalent in this modern era, as many couples choose to start families without getting married. On the other hand, if a child is conceived through a fleeting relationship, and the parties continue on with their lives, then this is also the case.


Nevertheless, a beautiful innocent child is born, and then the issue arises as to which surname this child should be known by. The purpose of this article is to discuss who should be given a surname by law for a child born out of wedlock. In addition, should the surname be legally changed at some point in the future?

What Surname Should An Illegitimate Child Use

As stated in section 10, if the child was born out of wedlock, the child should have the surname of the mother. If both the mother and father agree, however, the child may have the surname of the father. 


A new law was passed earlier this year, allowing unmarried fathers to register their children under their surnames. This Constitutional Court decision represents a clear victory for human rights development in South Africa. All signs of unfair discrimination in our legislation must be identified and routed out by our courts.  


Unmarried fathers were previously unable to register their children under their surnames without the consent of the mother as a result of a legislative restriction contained in section 10 of the Births Act.


For more information about legal documents such as birth certificates, feel free to get in touch with the team at DocAssist today!


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