JOINT GUARDIANSHIP FOR UNMARRIED PARENTS

Statutory declaration of father and mother
in relation to joint guardianship of a child

Guardianship is the collection of rights and duties towards a child and is now set out in legislation. Section 49 (6C) of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 says the rights and responsibilities of a guardian are:

The exercise of guardianship rights may be agreed between the guardians of a child. If there is any disagreement about the exercise of these rights, any guardian may ask the court to intervene.

This joint statutory declaration must be made by the mother and father of a non-marital child if they wish the father to become a guardian of the child jointly with the mother unless (from 18 January 2017) the unmarried father has cohabited for 12 months with the child’s mother, including three months following a child’s birth, in which case he will automatically become the child’s guardian. This provision is not retrospective and can be confirmed by a judge.

If there is more than one child, a separate statutory declaration should be made for each. Persons who are not the parents of the child (such as a parent's spouse, civil partner or qualified cohabitant) may apply to court for guardianship. If the parents of the child cannot agree about the father's appointment as joint guardian, the father can also apply to the court to be made a joint guardian under section 6A of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964. A father who is appointed guardian by this joint statutory declaration can only be removed as guardian by court order.

The right to custody is one of the rights that arises under the guardianship relationship. Custody is the physical day-to-day care and control of a child. Even where one guardian has custody of a child, the other guardian(s) is/are generally entitled to be consulted about matters affecting the child's welfare.

A father's duty to maintain his child and his right to apply to the court for custody or access to his child does not depend on his being made a guardian. The appointment of a natural father as guardian will affect any adoption of the child. A child normally ceases to be subject to guardianship when he/she reaches the age of 18 or marries. A guardian may also appoint a testamentary guardian by will, declaring who he/she wishes to look after the child in case of his/her death. This decision is binding as long as the will is valid.

This declaration will substantially affect the legal position of both parents
and it is advisable to obtain legal advice before making it.
This is an important document and should be kept in a safe place when completed
as all the political parties and groups have so far failed to provide a central register of guardianship agreements.


In the matter of a declaration under paragraph (e) of section 2(4) (inserted by the Children Act, 1997) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964.

We

___________________________________________________ (father's name)

of__________________________________________________(father's address)

and

___________________________________________________ (mother's name)

of _________________________________________________ (mother's address)

do solemnly and sincerely declare and say as follows:

1. We have not married each other.

2. We are the father and mother of_____________________________ (child's name) who was born on the____day of____________________20__.

3. We agree to the appointment of ____________________________ (father's name) as a guardian of ____________________________ (child's name)

4. We have entered into arrangements regarding the custody of [and access to]*__________________________ (child's name) [*Strike out as necessary]

We make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act 1938 and pursuant to paragraph (e) of section 2(4) (inserted by the Children Act, 1997) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964.

Signed____________________________ (father)

Signed ___________________________ (mother)

Declared before me by __________________________and____________________________ who are personally known to me

(or who are identified to me by ______________________________________ who is personally known to me, or whose identities have been established by photographs in (types of document))

at __________________________________________________________________________________________________

this____day of__________________ 20__.

 

 

(Signature of practising solicitor/Peace Commissioner/Commissioner for Oaths/Notary Public)


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