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By Richard Thompson

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection”. These were the words of the “father” of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and each year when we celebrate Father’s Day, it is also helpful and comforting to note that there are legal protections in place in our law to ensure that a child’s need for a fathers protection is, itself, protected.

Even if a biological father and mother were not living together during the period before and after the birth of a minor child and even if only the mother is registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the minor child, section 21(1)(ii) of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 (“the Act”) provides that the unmarried biological father acquires full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child if he contributes,

or has attempted in good faith to contribute, to the child’s upbringing for a reasonable period of time.

One such parental right, in terms of Section 18(3)(c)(iii) of the Act is that the mother of the child requires the biological father’s consent should she wish to depart with the child from the Republic, making it an offense to do so without the biological father’s knowledge and written consent.

We believe, firmly, that a child’s interests are paramount and we will endeavour to use our skills and know-how to see to it that these interests are protected.