Birth fathers’ rights
The Children’s Act specifically refers to the rights of the natural father. In essence it means that the natural birth father has the right to be informed of the pregnancy, must be involved and have the opportunity to acknowledge paternity and to come on record and be included in the registration of the child’s birth.
The father can accept or oppose an adoption and his stance on the adoption must be put on record.
Acknowledging paternity implies accepting some financial responsibility in line with parental rights, the pregnancy, birth and maintenance should the child remain with the birth mother. It is important that a natural father be counselled on his options, rights and responsibilities.
If you are the natural father of an unplanned pregnancy/a child born out of an unplanned pregnancy, then you have the right to adopt your child should the birth mother decide to give the child up for adoption. Your rights in this regard supersede those of any adoptive parents or extended family of the birth mother, unless she is a minor. However, the interests of the child are foremost and the father must be assessed and found to be suitable as an adoptive parent.
If you consent to an adoption, the 60-day window period within which consent to an adoption can be withdrawn applies to the natural father as well. There are a number or organisations that can assist you in making the right decision and following the correct procedures – please make use of their services.
Fathers 4 Justice South Africa
Centre for Child Law
Legal Aid Bureau
Family Advocates Office
Wits Law Clinic
University of Johannesburg Law Clinic