On a previous post, we touched on Unmarried Parents and custody. To see all of Shannons Family Law related posts, just click on the tag to right of this page: ‘Family Law’.

Guardianship means the rights and duties of parents regarding the upbringing of their children. It is the duty to maintain and properly care for a child. It includes and is not limited to the right to apply for a passport for the child and the right to make decisions about where a child will live, a child’s religious denomination, their education, medical decisions and requirements and their general welfare. As previously stated, a married father is automatically his child’s guardian. Guardianship is presently governed by the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 as amended by the Children Act, 1997. An application for Guardianship is made under Section 6A of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964, as amended.

It obliges the mother of the child to involve the father of the child in important decisions concerning the child’s welfare. When a father is appointed a guardian of the child the mother of that child cannot leave the country without the father’s consent. If she does so and fails to return, this is considered the criminal offence of child abduction and she can be subject to criminal

A guardian of a child can appoint a testamentary guardian in their Will. This is a very important part of being a guardian and we highly recommend that this is done. The parent attends us and makes a Will appointing a person to act as guardian, in their place, if they die. This testamentary guardian can then apply for custody of the child. It is specifically important for single parents to do this as it ensures that the child will have a guardian of their choice should they die.

Alternatively, an application can be made to Court to have a person appointed guardian where the child has no guardian. Making a Will therefore alleviates this problem. If a testamentary guardian is appointed and another guardian is surviving, both guardians will act jointly with each other and have the right to apply for custody of the child. This can be applied for by attending at our office or alternatively attending in person at your local District Court office.

To talk to Tim Shannon, an expert in Family Law, don’t hesitate to call the office in Swords on 01-8401780 or e-mail tim@shannons.ie