|Posted on February 17, 2015 at 6:50 PM|
I am concerned that there seems to be overwhelming support for the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2014 and that it is being acclaimed as a step forward in the rights of unmarried fathers whereas in fact, it is the opposite.
At the moment, an unmarried father can become a Legal Guardian to his child by
1) Marrying the mother of his child and adopting his own child
2) Seeking the mothers permission to be a Legal Guardian by Statutory Declaration and
3) By fighting the mother in Court.
This means that the right of an unmarried father to have a legal relationship with his own child depends solely on his relationship with the mother. Now, the Government are seeking to grant automatic Guardianship to unmarried fathers but only if they live with the mother and so the unjust inequality not only continues but actually gets worse for the unmarried father who does not live with the mother. Regardlees. The rights of any citizen should not be dependent on another. It would be the same as allowing a woman to vote only if her husband agreed. As this would be ridiculous, it is obvious that the rights of an unmarried father should not be dependent on his partner.
Further, the Government proposes to dilute the rights of married fathers. Currently, a married father acts jointly with his wife as Legal Guardian. However, following this legislation, if he separates or divorces, he can be undermined by a 3rd party who forms a relationship with his wife. This 3rd party can become a 3rd Legal Guardian and so the balance of power will be permanently be undermined. The natural biological father of the child will always be outvoted in any contentious issue because the new partner of the mother will naturally be more concerned with the maintenance of their relationship with her than siding with her ex husband against her for the sake of a child that they have no natural ties with.
Before voting this legislation in, please familiarise yourself with recent Equality Tribunal decisions which indicate that fathers are regularly ignored in Guardianship issues as can be seen at http://equalityforfathersinireland.webs.com/equalitytribunal.htm