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Father's Rights to Guardianship

Father's Rights to Guardianship

JOINT GUARDIANSHIP OF A CHILD BY AN UNMARRIED FATHER

Following the special programme segment on Global Village recently the following is the legal position regarding an unmarried father of a child.  

 

Under Irish Law a child who is born within marriage is under joint guardianship of his/her mother and father automatically.

 

For a child who is born outside of marriage, the mother is sole guardian.  The position of the unmarried father is not as certain.    The best way to bring this certainty about is to have the father appointed joint guardian by agreement with the mother and this is done by a Statutory Declaration.

 

This form can be downloaded using MS WORD or ADOBE .pdf formats or by cut and paste. Click here to view and download the form.

 

It is very important that both parties should have independent legal advice about making this declaration thereby admitting a non marital father to guardianship because it will determine the future arrangements for the child. Any document signed under pressure (particularly in relation to the mother) may not be legally valid. Equally for a father to be acknowledged as guardian may make him liable to pay maintenance, support and other expenses involved in his acknowledged parental duties. PLEASE NOTE: The Declaration must be made and signed by both mother and father in the presence of a Peace Commissioner, Practising Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public who must sign on the last line. To have this declaration taken by a Solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths the cost will be €20.00.

 

If the mother does not sign the Declaration to acknowledge that the father should become a joint guardian, the father has to apply to be appointed as a joint guardian and this requires an application to the District Court.  The Court will decide the case on the basis of what is in the best interests of the child.

 

For any application to court, legal representation is recommended but not legally required. The local District Court office has the necessary forms and will give guidance (but not legal advice or representation) on the process. www.courts.ie

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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