What's in a surname?

When you're single and pregnant, choosing a surname for your baby can be tricky. What does the law have to say? What factors do you have to take into consideration?

In the forum 'Which surname?', this Parent24 user wonders exactly that.

Jeanine.l asks, 'I'm 23 weeks pregnant and not married, but still involved with the father. Which surname should my baby get when he is born?'

Clairevz says, 'Gosh this is a difficult one. I think depending on the TYPE of relationship you have with the father, and whether or not you are living together, or planning to get married - play a big role in this decision. If it was me in your situation, I would use my surname. If I was engaged to said father, then I'd consider using his surname.'

According to CapeGateway.gov.za it's all up to the parents. Only if you're legally married does the baby have the father's surname. The mother is more often than not the baby's guardian and therefore it makes sense for the child to have your surname. Again though, it's all up to the mother.

Jeanine.l is glad she doesn't have to worry.
'Luckily I’m not planning on leaving the country and he’s not planning on deserting us. But personally I think it would be better if peanut is on my name, it would just make it easier to add him to my medical scheme and open an account for him etc. and I could always change it the day we get married, or if peanut is old enough to understand he can have the choice of which surname he wants.'

Single fathers do have rights over their children, as Gary explains in his comment below.

If you'd like to know more about choosing or changing the surname of your baby, see the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment.

Have you had any issues with choosing a surname for your child?

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