Parental Rights of Fathers relies on the Children’s Act of South Africa (Act 38 of 2005). When it comes to fathers’ rights, a biological father has full parental rights, unless a court rules otherwise. This is true for all fathers provided that he meets the requirements stipulated within the Children’s Act.

A parent has the following rights and responsibilities:

  • Caring for the child, ensuring the child’s environment is a healthy one.
  • Having contact with the child. This includes communication and visitation.
  • Being a guardian to the child and having a voice when it comes to their upbringing.
  • Offering monetary contribution to the care of the child.

If there is any uncertainty when it comes to deciding whether a father meets the requirements of the Children’s Act. This is regarding his responsibilities and whether the criteria as set out in the Act have been met, a factual inquiry must be made. The court takes all related facts and circumstances into account, in its assessment of whether or not the father qualifies for parental rights.

A father has full parental rights if he meets the following requirements:

  • The father is or was cohabitating with the child’s mother at the time of the birth.
  • If he has consented to be identified as the child’s father from birth.
  • He has otherwise appealed to the court to be identified as the father if there is a dispute with the mother regarding official documentation (on the birth certificate or by insisting on a paternity test to prove his paternity).
  • The father has contributed or made attempts to contribute to the upbringing of the child. Or paid maintenance, for a certain period of time.

If a father wants care/contact rights and to be the guardian of his child, he must bring an application in the High Court and rely on the Children’s Act (which deals with his parental rights).

Everyone has the right to take care of their children, it is not fair that fathers are unwillingly shut out of their children’s lives. It is essential that fathers know they have rights and a say when it comes to their children. It is critical to contact a family law attorney and to these rights specified and enforced.

Are you looking for a family lawyer in Durban? We have a team of family lawyers who are equipped to help you with your needs. Contact Durban Law Offices on 031 836 0307 or email us at so that one of our lawyers may assist you and/or provide you with advice.