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Recent Changes in Family Law

12 Feb

On the 18th of January 2016 Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Justice and Equality signed into law the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016

The key provisions enacted by the order include:

Non marital fathers will, in certain circumstances, have automatic guardianship rights in respect of their children.

It is possible for the Court to appoint a person as a child’s guardian if that person has been responsible for the child’s day to day care for over one year.

A parent’s spouse, civil partner or cohabitant will be able to apply for custody in certain circumstances.

A grandparent or other relative can apply for custody of a child in certain circumstances. Relatives of a child, or those acting in loco parentis can apply to have access in certain circumstances.

A person other than a parent can become the child’s guardian in certain circumstances.

It is possible for a parent to appoint a temporary guardian for his/her child through the courts if the parent is suffering from serious illness or injury and is unable to care of his/her child.

A child co-parented by civil partners has the same protections as are enjoyed by a child of a family based on marriage. A cohabiting partner has a maintenance responsibility where the cohabitee is a guardian of the child.

The court can impose “enforcement orders” where a parent or guardian has been denied custody or access. These may include requiring that he or she get compensatory time with the child, both parties attend parenting programmes, family counselling or receive information on mediation etc..