Victory sets precedent for unwed fathers

In a ruling described as ‘precedent-setting’ by the University of Johannesburg’s Law Clinic, the court granted full parental rights and responsibilities, and specifically the right to care, to Mr Jose Williams, the unmarried biological father of a two-year-old girl.

The father fiercely opposed the mother’s decision to have the child adopted with full knowledge of the fact that Mr. Williams was fully prepared at home to care and accept the baby. He had a room set up for her with a cot, and bought toys, bottles, clothes and all other necessities for a newborn baby, with the assistance of his mother.

The ruling was made under the new Children’s Act, where an unmarried father can acquire full parental responsibilities and rights if he consents to be identified as the child’s father, or has contributed to the child’s upbringing or maintenance. The decision will enable unmarried fathers to take full responsibility for their children without needing to adopt them.

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