Changes to Family Law

Changes to Family Law:

Unmarried fathers who have lived with the mother of their child for more than a year will have automatic guardianship rights under sweeping changes to Family Law.

The landmark legislation will, for the first time, give unmarried fathers legal rights to access to their children despite being separated from the children’s mother. Only mothers currently have guaranteed guardianship of a child born outside of marriage and fathers can be forced to engage in lengthy legal battles to get access to their child.

The new rules are contained in the Governments Children and Family Relationships Bill. Step parents and the parent’s co-habiting partner will be able to apply for guardianship if they have shared caring responsibilities for a child for more than two years. In these cases guardianship will be limited to day to day decisions while major issues regarding residence, religion and education will be the sole responsibility of the biological parent. Grandparents will also see increased rights.

For more information on the changes please contact Martina Murphy.

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