Custody is the right of a parent to exercise physical care and control in respect of the upbringing of his or her child on a day-to-day basis. The married parents of a child are automatically joint guardians and custodians of their child.
In the case of a child born to an unmarried mother the mother is automatically the child’s guardian and sole custodian. However if a father of the child wants to acquire custodial status, they can apply under the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964.
Rights of married persons – post separation
By law, an unmarried mother is the sole guardian of a child born outside of marriage. Unless the mother agrees to sign a statutory declaration, an unmarried father must apply to the court in order to become a legal guardian of his child. A father does not have to have guardianship before he applies for access or custody.
Healy O’Connor Solicitors can provide advice in relation to a right of access to the unmarried parents (mother/father) and can provide legal representation at both the District Court and the Circuit Court.