When it comes to the maintenance of children, the law does not distinguish between married and unmarried parents. Decisions about the care of a child should be made based on the best interest of the child.
The Children’s Act 38 of 2005 provides that the father of a child who is not married to the child’s mother acquires full parental responsibilities and rights. Even in the event that the father does not live with the mother of the child at the time of the child's birth.
These responsibilities and rights include caring for the child, maintaining contact with the child, acting as a guardian of the child, and contributing to the maintenance of the child.
Both parents, regardless of whether he or she lives with the child at the birth of the child, has a duty to maintain the child.
Thus there is an absolute legal duty to maintain a child irrespective of their living arrangements.
A child in a cohabitation relationship is protected if the couple is not married, since both biological parents are responsible for the maintenance of their child.
The mother and father are both liable for maintenance of the child, even if the couple splits up. This, however, does not apply to same sex couples, as both partners cannot share a biological link with the child.
If you require legal assistance with regards to a cohabitation relationship or child maintenance, contact our attorneys at Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated. We provide expert legal advice and can assist with all matter relating to family law.
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