Child Guardianship

Guardianship - Family Law

Guardianship - Family Law

Guardianship rights entitle the parent of a child to make important decisions regarding that child's upbringing, for example, decisions on the child's religion, education, medical treatment and where the child lives. All mothers in Ireland, irrespective of whether they are married or unmarried, have automatic guardianship status in relation to their children, unless they give the child up for adoption.

In addition, fathers married to the mother of their children also have automatic guardianship rights. A father, however, who is not married to the mother of his child does not have automatic guardianship rights in relation to that child.

The Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (as amended) is the main legislation in this jurisdiction.

Being a Guardian requires a person to partake in the important decisions in a child’s life for example, education, religion and general rearing.

The main consideration in relation to such Applications is the Welfare of the child.

Marital Children

Married parents of a child are ‘’joint-guardians’’ and have equal rights in relation to the child.

Non Marital Children

If a child in Ireland is born outside of the marriage, only the natural mother is deemed to be the Guardian. The natural father can become a Guardian by:

  1. Marrying the mother after the child is born.
  2. Apply to the Court under s.6A of the 1964 Act, to be appointed Guardian of the child.
  3. Seek agreement with the mother for joint Guardianship. Both the natural mother and natural father must enter a Statutory Declaration, that they are the father and mother of the child, that they agree to the appointment of the father as a Guardian of the child and they have entered into arrangements regarding the custody and access to the child.

 

All parents who are guardians but especially mothers who are sole guardians, should make a will appointing a guardian to act on their behalf in the event of their death before the child is 18. This is called testamentary guardianship.

If a parent dies without appointing a guardian in a will it is possible to someone with an interest in the child to apply to the court to be appointed a guardian of the child.

Court Attendance

The father can apply to the local District Court to become a joint guardian of his child. The decision of the court will be made with the child being the most important consideration.

Guardians and wills

All parents who are guardians but especially mothers who are sole guardians, should make a will appointing a guardian to act on their behalf in the event of their death before the child is 18. This is called testamentary guardianship.

If a parent dies without appointing a guardian in a will it is possible to someone with an interest in the child to apply to the court to be appointed a guardian of the child.

Initial Advice Consultation 

 

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