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When: Apr 17, 12
Who: Staff


Guardianship means the rights and duties of the parents in respect of the upbringing of their children.  It encompasses the duty of the parents to maintain and properly care for their child and means that parents have a right to make decisions about their child’s religious and secular education, health requirements and general welfare.  In Ireland, married parents of a child are joint guardians and have equal rights in relation to their child.

Outside of marriage the situation in Ireland is different in that only the mother has automatic rights to guardianship.   The position of the unmarried father of the child is that he can be appointed a guardian voluntarily, if the mother agrees or he can apply to Court to be appointed as a joint guardian.  While the mother’s views are taken into account, the fact that she does not consent to the guardianship application does not automatically mean that the Court will refuse the order sought by the father.  Instead the Court will decide based on the best interests of the child.

Being a guardian requires a person to partake in the important decisions in a child’s life i.e. education, religion and general upbringing.

Any person who is a guardian of a child can apply to the Court for its direction on any question affecting the welfare of that child.  The Court may give such direction as it sees fit regarding the issue of guardianship, custody, access and may order the father or the mother to pay maintenance for the care and upkeep of the child.

At Kieran McCarthy & Co. we can advise you fully in relation to all aspects of guardianship whether you are a father who wishes to apply for guardianship or you are a mother with sole guardianship and you require advice and guidance in relation to an application which is being made by the father for guardianship.   We can also advise you in relation to the removal of guardianship rights, marriage after a child is born and guardianship in respect of same sex couples.

For expert legal advice in relation to guardianship please contact us at


Custody is the right of a parent to exercise physical care and control in respect of a child on a day- to-day basis.  Joint custody is usually granted to married parents however it may be the case that it is acceptable for the child or children to reside primarily with one parent.



The Court will consider application for access on the basis that the best interests of the child are of paramount importance.  The right of access is ultimately the right of the child.  Access orders, once granted, can be varied by way of further application to the Court.

If you have any queries regarding custody or access you can contact us at


About Us & Contact

Kieran McCarthy & Co. Solicitors
Floor 3B, 6 Lapps Quay, Cork.
t: 021 427 5220 | f: 021 427 5250

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