When it comes to parent’s rights and status regarding their children, in Ireland it highly depends on whether the parents are married or not. It may be common knowledge but a married father has joint custody and is the joint guardian of the child. An unmarried father would not have these rights automatically and would have to apply to the Courts for them.

When a child is born, the mother, on the other hand, has sole custody and sole guardianship. Again, the father does not have automatic rights and must apply in the District Court for custody and guardianship.

Many fathers are unaware of their rights if a relationship, unfortunately, comes to the end and it’s extremely important to know. Being ignorant of the subject could fare badly for the father when it comes to seeing their child. Of course, the most important factor is the welfare of the child- it is within the rights of the Court to decide and consider what is at the child’s best interests and safety. Access to the child is the right of the child and not just the parents.

Laura and Tim Shannon are experts in Family Law at Shannons Solicitors in Swords, Co. Dublin and are here to help you with any queries you might have about the aftermath of a relationship and to talk to you about your rights. If you’re looking for legal advice that’s free, confidential and expertly given, don’t hesitate to call Shannons on 01-8401780 or e-mail vincent@shannons.ie