Guardianship Forms for Unmarried fathers in Ireland 5th May 2010
Guardianship Of Children (Statutory Declaration) Regulations 1998
What is Guardianship
Guardianship is the collection of rights and duties which a parent has in respect of his or her child. It encompasses the duty to maintain and properly care for the child and the right to make decisions about a child’s religious and secular education, health requirements and other matters affecting the welfare of the child.
The exercise of guardianship rights may be agreed between parents. In the event of a dispute arising concerning the exercise of guardianship rights the court may determine the matter on the application of either parental guardian. The right to custody is one of the rights that arises under the guardianship relationship.
Custody is the physical day to day care and control of a child. Even where one parental guardian has custody of a child the other parental guardian is generally entitled to be consulted in relation to matters affecting the welfare of the child
Know your rights
In 1998 the Irish Government introduced a piece of legislation that allowed unmarried fathers to make a statutory declaration and become guardians of their child/ren. Prior to this Statutory Instrument a father had to go before a Judge and seek his/her permission to become a guardian of his child/ren. With the introduction of this Statutory Instrument it is a joint declaration i.e the mother and father sign the document appointing the father as a guardian, however if the mother refuse to agree to this then the father has to revert back to the old way of becoming a guardian and must go to court to seek guardianship.
What to do with my Statutory Instrument SI 5
You may not be aware but there is no responsible state agency
anywhere in the country for the collection of Statutory
• Almost 1/3rd of children born in 2011 are born to parents
who are unmarried (this figure rises dramatically to 50% in some
housing estates around the country),
• This means that these children are ‘legal strangers’ to their
fathers unless these parents register the father as a guardian.
• There is no one responsible for collecting this SI 5, so for
example if the document gets lost or mislaid then there is no
proof that such a document ever existed.
• Parental Equality would like to start a campaign to make fathers and
mothers aware of the importance of:-
1) Filling out such an application i.e SI No. 5 1998 and
2) sending it to a central repository or agency who will hold the document
for safe keeping or at the very least that your solicitor or the peace
commissioner hold on to a copy of this document.
This latter suggestion is a project which we are currently and actively
engaged in both the development and establishment of such an agency
pending core funding.
Child Custody and what it means
To have custody of a child means to have the day to day care and control of a child. Married parents have automatic joint custody of their children. Technically when parents separate they continue to enjoy the right to joint custody unless a court orders otherwise. Unmarried mothers have automatic sole custody whereas unmarried fathers have no automatic custody rights and may apply to the court to be appointed a joint custodian.