Question posted in the Family Law category relating to Western Cape
I am a UK citizen with a temporary South African spousal permit, married to a South African. We got married in Denmark in 2017 (and have an apostilled marriage certificate for use internationally). We birthed a child together in July 2020, and went to register him at home affairs. They informed us that as we did not register our marriage in S.A, my partner remains legally single on the DHA system here in SA. As a result, we were given two options: 1) Register our child "out of wedlock" 2) Wait until marriage registration services resume (they are currently on COVID lockdown), register the marriage first and then register the birth (within one year of birth). The DHA official reassured that registering a baby out of wedlock is exactly the same as within a marriage: the certificate is the same, the legal rights of the child the same. However, it seems dishonest to register a child out of wedlock when we are in fact married (albeit not yet recognised in SA). The legal question for an attorney is: Is it OK for us to register the child out of wedlock in this situation or might there be complications down the line? For example, will the process of getting a UK passport for the child be hampered in some way?
Answer to the Question
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If you are a South African living in Eastern Cape and you'll probably never leave Eastern Cape and neither will your child, or your child will only travel as far as Joburg, I would agree with the Home Affairs official.
But that's not your situation. You are not South African, and there is a good chance that your child will obtain dual citizenship in the future. For this reason, I suggest that you first register your marriage with Home Affairs, and then proceed with the registration of birth.
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