Bringing a child on holiday

I plan to bring my young daughter on holidays to France during the summer. Our holiday would be for about 2 weeks. I am not married to the father of my daughter and I wonder do I need his permission to bring our daughter out of the country?  Please advise me.

The answer to your query very much depends on whether the father of your daughter is also her legal guardian.

In Ireland, a mother of a child is an automatic guardian of that child. A father who is married to the mother of his child also has automatic guardianship rights in relation to that child. This applies even if the couple married after the birth of the child.

However, the same does not apply to a father of a child who is not married to the child’s mother. In order for a father of a child to obtain guardianship rights he must either:

  1. Sign a Statutory Declaration for guardianship with the mother of the child. This Statutory Declaration must be witnessed by a solicitor or commissioner for oaths.
  2. Seek a Court Order for guardianship.
  3. Under the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 a father to a child may acquire guardianship rights if he lives with the mother of the child for a period of 12 months, 3 months of which are after the birth of the child. This Act did not commence until 18th January 2016 so such guardianship will only be acquired automatically where the parents lived together for at least 12 months after the 18th of January 2016.

It is important to note that the naming of the father of the child on the birth certificate does not give him automatic guardianship rights.

It is an offence to remove a child under 16 years from the State in the following circumstances:

  1. Without the consent of each person who is a guardian to the child.
  2. In defiance of a Court Order.
  3. Where a summons has been served in respect of a court application by a father seeking guardianship.

If the father to your child does not have guardianship rights or if he has not initiated the guardianship process through the Courts then you may bring your child on holiday without his consent.

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