Coparent App is a Social Justice Foundation NPO project | 165-06 NPC 2017/653567/08 with Section 18A status. To obtain your Section 18a certificate send email to

Unmarried mother's rights



Being an unmarried mother in South Africa does not mean that the father is exempt from his responsibilities as a parent. If you are an unmarried mother your child is entitled to financial support from the father of the child, whether he wants to be involved in the child’s life or not. If you are going into battle with the father of your child, you will need to understand what an unmarried mother’s rights in South Africa are so that you are equipped to gain the best possible outcome for your child. In terms of the Children’s Act, the best interests of the child and front and foremost. The “best interests” principle is the determining factor that is taken into consideration by the South African courts when reaching any decision in respect of a child.

Joselowitz & Andrews Attorneys are experienced Family Law attorneys who assist parents and other parties in finding resolutions that are in the best interests of the children. We handle the legalities in order for our clients’ primary focus and energy to remain vested with their children. Together, we will do everything in our power to ensure that all issues involving children are resolved expeditiously, professionally and affordably. At all times throughout this trying process, the emphasis will be focused on the health and well-being of your children.



Although the new Children’s Act provides for unmarried mothers and fathers in South Africa to have equal parental responsibilities and rights in bringing up and supporting the child, mothers have a distinct advantage when it comes to the primary residence of the child and where the child will live permanently. There have been a number of cases where fathers can be equally ‘mothering’, in the majority of those cases the child will still reside with the mother. This sometimes contradicts conditions whereby the father provides a better environment in which the child can develop.



If the mother feels that it is in the best interest of the child not to have any contact with the father, she can apply for a termination of parental rights of the father. This process will take into consideration the relationship of the father with the child when deciding whether or not to grant the application. When considering unmarried mother’s rights in South Africa, a mother who feels the child’s father is unfit to be involved in the child’s life is able to due to specific reasons stated in Section 28 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005.



Since the passing of the Maintenance Awareness Act, parents who do not pay maintenance will find themselves in trouble and could be blacklisted. The passing of this act was considered a step in the right direction with regards to unmarried mother’s rights in South Africa and celebrated by woman’s rights groups and single mothers throughout the country. Once the mother and father have come to a formal agreement, the father is required to pay the expected maintenance to the mother for the child.

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To obtain your Section 18a certificate send email to

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