What are my parental rights and responsibilities as an unmarried father?

The biological father of a child acquires full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child in the following instances:

  1. If, at the time of the child's birth, he is living with the mother in a permanent life-partnership; or
  2. If he, regardless of whether he has lived or is living with the mother -

a) Consents to be identified or successfully applies in terms of Section 26 of the Children's Act to be identified as the child's father or pays damages in terms of customary law;

b) Contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute to the child's upbringing for a reasonable period; and

c) Contributes or has attempted in good faith to contribute towards expenses in connection with the maintenance of the child for a reasonable period.

One must note that the "parental rights and reponsibilities" in respect of a child includes the right to care for the child, maintain contact with the child, to act as guardian of the child and to contribute to the maintenance of the child.

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