Thursday, September 10, 2009

Law Reform Commission of Ireland Consultation Paper on Family Relationships

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland yesterday launched its Consultation Paper on Family Relationships.

The paper is part of the Commission’s Third Programme of Law Reform 2008-2014, and makes wide-ranging provisional recommendations, including the following:
  • instead of the current legal terms guardianship, custody and access, the law should use the terms parental responsibility, day-to-day care and contact. This would give a clearer indication of what is actually involved in this part of family law; and remove any misunderstanding that parents might have rights involving their children without corresponding responsibilities. It would also ensure that the terms used in Ireland wouldbe in line with those used in EU legislation, by the Council of Europe, and in other international instruments to which Ireland is a party;
  • there should be a statutory presumption that a non-marital father be granted an order for guardianship (parental responsibility) unless to do so would be contrary to the best interests of the child or would jeopardise the welfare of the child. The Commission also invites submissions on whether automatic guardianship (parental responsibility) for allfathers should be introduced;
  • the distinction between birth registration and the allocation of guardianship (parental responsibility) should remain. This would be accompanied by provisions to encourage greater joint registration of births;
  • the removal of the current two stage procedure for applying for access (contact) by members of the extended family. The Commission also invites submissions on whether the categories of persons who can apply for access (contact) should be expanded to include persons with a genuine (bona fide) interest;
  • persons other than parents should be able to apply for custody (day-to-day care) of the child where the parents are unwilling or unable to exercise their responsibilities
  • the Commission invites submissions on the inclusion of a specific requirement that the wishes of the child be considered in making a decision on an application for access(contact) by a member of the child’s extended family;
  • the Commission also invites submissions on whether it would be appropriate to develop a procedure to extend guardianship (parental responsibility) to a step-parent

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:37 pm

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